2000 - Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright (Innocent)
The 2000 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (London) was won by Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright and their business Innocent.
Innocent was founded by Cambridge graduates - Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright; after they had finished studying and were working in consulting and advertising. The three were friends at St John's College, Cambridge. In 1998, after spending six months working on smoothie recipes and £500 on fruit, the trio sold their drinks from a stall at a music festival in London. People were asked to put their empty bottles in a 'yes' or 'no' bin depending on whether they thought the three should quit their jobs to make smoothies. At the end of the festival the 'YES' bin was full, with only three cups in the 'NO' bin, so they went to their work the next day and resigned.
In more recent times Innocent have seen major investment from the giants Coca-Cola, In April 2010 Coca-Cola increased its stake in the company to 58% from 18% for about £65 million. In Innocent's own words "We're selling a minority of our shares, but keeping the majority of them, and we will continue to lead the business, with no change or loss of control - the deal gives no new rights to Coke. In short, it is ‘smoothies-as-usual’, with innocent continuing to be run as a standalone business by us, the founders.
The 3 founders of Innocent, winners of the 2000 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (London)
As before, the mission and values of innocent remain unchanged. We will continue to focus on our 30 year goal of establishing innocent as The Earth’s Favourite Little Healthy Food and Drinks Company. And all our innocent promises – to make only natural healthy food and drink, to push harder for higher social and environmental standards across our business and to contribute 10% of profits to charity - remain as true as ever."
Innocent now produce a wide range of products aside from their original smoothies including fruit juices and ready meal veg pots. The company also featured in the 2011 Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work For list and are widely regarded as one of the United Kingdoms coolest brands.
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