Latest News | 16 November 2022

Search is on for Marketing Derby’s next rising star

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Marketing Derby is calling on up-and-coming entrepreneurs to enter its annual Rising Star competition, which aims to give a helping hand to fledgling businesses.

Each year, the city and county’s inward investment agency, gives the opportunity for a new business to receive a complimentary year of Bondholder membership, along with local publicity and invitations to must-attend events.

To coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week, which started on Monday, entries are now being accepted to find the Rising Star for 2023.

This year, the title of Rising Star went to So Good Kombucha, a business founded by Lesley So, which creates and sells a healthy alternative to fizzy drinks.

Lesley said: “Winning Marketing Derby’s Rising Star has been an absolute gamechanger for me and for the business.

“It has definitely opened doors for us – not just within Derby but nationally as well, as well as given us credibility, business connections, and opportunities that we otherwise would not have had.”

Lesley came up with the idea for So Good Kombucha after noticing a gap in the UK market for a non-alcoholic fizzy drink alternative that is vegan, allergen-free, natural, low-in-sugar and, above all, healthy.

Naturally sparkling and slightly tangy, kombucha is a fermented tea with origins thought to go back over 2,000 years to ancient China.

Lesley’s family had always brewed and loved the drink, but most of the kombucha she tried in the UK were either not authentic or did not taste right.

So, in 2020, Lesley decided to leave her job at Rolls-Royce (BH), where she was vice-president of marketing, to pursue her dream of running her own start-up business, producing kombucha.

During her year as Rising Star, Lesley has taken full advantage of her complimentary membership.

She spoke at the Annual Business Event, which is Marketing Derby’s biggest event of the year, delivering the popular Dare to Dream slot.

And she has been involved in a number of collaborations with fellow Bondholders, while winning numerous awards for her products along the way.

Lesley said: “I’ve loved being part of the wonderful network of Bondholders and have felt really welcomed and supported as part of ‘Team Derby’.

“Being an entrepreneur (especially when just starting out) can be very challenging – winning the Rising Star has given me confidence to get through some of the tougher times.

“I’ve also met lots of experienced entrepreneurs to look up to for inspiration and support.

“I would 100% encourage everyone to apply – it’s an opportunity not to be missed!”

Lindsey Hatfield, from Marketing Derby, said: “We know from previous winners that the Rising Star accolade can be a serious game changer to the winner and their business.

“It’s been a pleasure to see the remarkable success of So Good Kombucha – and hope its Rising Star membership has helped play a part in their growth.
“Each year, the number of applications gets bigger and bigger – and I’m once looking forward to reading about all of our up-and-coming businesses.”

To apply to be the Marketing Derby Rising Star for 2023, please e-mail by Friday 13 January and outline your business idea, a brief background of your story so far and why you would like to become the next Rising Star.

The applications will be short-listed, and successful applicants invited for a short interview.

The winner will be announced at Marketing Derby’s Annual Business Event on 24 February.

Applicants must be in their first 18 months of business and willing to attend at least 10 Bondholder events, either online or face-to-face during their year as Rising Star.

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