Virign Media Business VOOM is about more than just a business competition with incredible prizes. No business knows this quite as well as Pitch to Rich finalists from last year’s competition, Aduna.
Aduna is an Africa-inspired health & beauty brand with a social conscience and their success since the competition they have experienced what can only be called the VOOM effect.
With a business model designed to create demand for under-utilised natural products, or ‘super ingredients’ as they call them, Aduna aims to help small farmers in Africa who cultivate these products, many of whom are surviving on less than $1 a day. More than 70 per cent of Africa’s 1 billion plus population live in rural areas and 90 per cent depend on small or micro-scale farming as their primary source of livelihood.
A key example of this is the baobab fruit. Baobab is an African superfruit; it is the only fruit in the world that dries on the branch and produces a nutrient-dense powder that has numerous health benefits. In addition to providing a rich source of Vitamin C, it improves immune function, skincare, and contains more antioxidants than any other whole fruit.
In 2011, Aduna co-founders Andrew Hunt and Nick Salter first took on the mission of making baobab a world-recognised superfood. Through their #MakeBaobabFamous campaign, their aim was to create a new industry that National Geographic estimates could be worth a billion dollars to 10 million households in rural Africa.
This is where Pitch to Rich came in. As a 2015 finalist, Andrew Hunt won his company a £100,000 marketing campaign. Hunt explains, “Thanks to VOOM we were able to support our national listing with Holland & Barrett with a £100k #MakeBaobabFamous campaign, including window displays in all 750 stores.
“The impact was that we created a transformation in awareness of baobab in the UK, doubled the number of small producers we source from in rural Africa, and our business was propelled to a new level.”
But the VOOM impact doesn’t end there. Their wide ranging baobab product selection is available online and caught the attention of none other than Marcus Butler, YouTube sensation, founder of SourcedBox and finale judge of #VOOM 2016.
SourcedBox is a subscription business that provides healthy snacks, carefully sourced and full of natural goodness. Their aim is to make being healthy much easier by providing natural and great-tasting snacks without the need to search across the extensive health food market.
Aduna featured in SourcedBox earlier this year, providing a Baobab Organic Raw Energy Bar as well as a sachet of their Superfruit Powder. Marcus reviewed Aduna’s baobab bar in a YouTube video back in May. After meeting with the Aduna team he said, “They’re one; a really cool company, in what they’re trying to focus on and trying to achieve, and also, they make amazing products.
“They’re trying to make Baobab popular around the world so that more people will use the fruit in Africa because so much of it gets wasted each year, and if more people find out about it, then loads more jobs can be made.”
This type of partnership is why Virgin Media Business set up VOOM. It’s about giving fantastic companies a chance to get funding, exposure and the opportunity to grow.
With the finale of VOOM 2016 taking place in under two weeks, we can’t wait to see which businesses will be there. Tune into the Livestream on Tuesday June 28th to watch it unfold.