News | Revive Eco is January's Featured Business of the Month
18 January 2017
Fergus Moore won a Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award in 2016 for his business Revive Eco, which he co-founded with Scott Kennedy and Rebecca Richardson.
Revive is a multi-award winning waste rejuvenation eco-prise, developing high-value natural bio-oils from used coffee grounds. The business’s operation model involves providing a unique waste recycling service and a range of environmentally-friendly products, derived from used coffee grounds.
At an industrial scale, Revive will extract high-value, natural bio-oils to be sold in a range of industries. The process Revive have developed allows the business to purify oils to a far greater degree than was previously possible. From the residual material left over, Revive will create a bio-fertiliser and eventually a biofuel product that will be used to power their own process.
The co-founders initially came up with the concept of Revive aged 19 whilst studying at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde, where they were tasked to come up with a socially beneficial business concept. The trio continued to develop the business idea during their studies and then founded the business shortly before graduating in June 2015.
Since its inception, Revive has had great success in several competitions and have run two successful small pilot phases, which saw them create a coffee neutral village, where local schools were able to use Revive’s 100% natural plant food in their community gardens.
Shell LiveWIRE sat down with Revive Eco’s co-founders to catch up with them and to see what's next for their award-winning business.
What was the inspiration behind Revive Eco?
There was a variety of factors leading to the creation of Revive; we are all hugely passionate about creating social and environmental value through business, and with us all working in cafés and bars, we saw first-hand the levels of waste needlessly being sent to landfill. Being part of an entrepreneurship class where we had to create a business concept enabled us to combine our passion for ecopreneurship with our experiences in our part-time jobs, which led us to create a waste rejuvenation business.
How did you get into entrepreneurship? Did you always want to go into business for yourself?
There are a number of reasons that we got into entrepreneurship:
- Our creativity doesn’t fit within a corporate environment: We have each tried working for others and felt that it limited the amount we could be truly creative.
- We’re passionate about learning. A big part of being an entrepreneur is becoming good at things that you’ve never done before. We have found that we have a desire to broaden our knowledge and learning new things excites us.
- We think unconventionally. We are constantly thinking outside the box. If entrepreneurs thought conventionally, they would never become entrepreneurs because the risks are so high! Thinking unconventionally keeps things exciting and leads to true innovation.
- We want to create things for ourselves. We want to be able to look at our paycheque and say that we earned every single penny of it. It is massively exciting to know that every day at Revive we create something that previously didn’t exist.
- We want to change the world. For all the difficulties involved in being an entrepreneur, the true drive behind it comes from a desire to make a real difference. ‘The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do’ (Steve Jobs).
What challenges did you face when setting up your business?
As with most start-ups, the biggest challenge we faced, and continue to face, is funding. With little experience and no track record, it is a challenge to attract the required funding, however we have been fortunate to receive funding through various competitions, such as Shell LiveWIRE. Building networks and relationships with relevant organisations and experienced individuals has been hugely valuable to us in terms of putting ourselves in the position to raise the level of funding we require to take Revive to the next level.
What is your proudest achievement with the business?
There have been a number of huge moments for Revive. We feel like we achieve something new and exciting every single day. However, if we were to pick a biggest or proudest moment it would have to be the moment we secured a partnership with our engineering and manufacturing partner, Fraunhofer. Partnering with this leading German research institute has allowed us to develop a world-leading process and has given us the credibility and validation to go forward for large amounts of funding. This link came from winning the Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award, which just goes to show that the award gave us so much more than a cash prize!
You won a Shell LiveWIRE Award back in 2016, how have things changed for you since then?
The business has progressed greatly since winning Shell LiveWIRE in 2016, adapting the business model, making new partnerships and conducting further testing, which would not have been possible without Shell LiveWIRE. This progression has put us in a position where we are now ready to launch our pilot plant with a far more innovative process than we previously imagined, which is hugely exciting.
What’s next for Revive Eco?
Change the world! Well that’s the long-term plan! But in the short-term, we are currently going for funding from Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Enterprise that would allow us to run a pilot phase over the next year. We will work with Edinburgh University to collect all the coffee waste from their campus cafes and halls of residence. This will then be processed in our pilot plant in central Scotland. We also have exciting plans for our fertiliser product and have been in talks to develop our biomass pellets.
Entrepreneurs drive innovation. How do you think this can be used to help create a smarter future?
Entrepreneurs really are the driving force behind the drive towards smarter futures. We are the people driving politicians and big businesses towards changing their mindsets towards circular economies and smarter futures and we hope this this drive and determination to change the world flows into all facets of business and everyday life.
What role do you think entrepreneurs will play in the transition to a low carbon society?
Entrepreneurs are massively important for improving the world as we know it. Without entrepreneurs and innovators, the transition to a low-carbon society is impossible. We need people to be starting companies with the mindset of keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum from the very beginning. It is also important for big businesses to be constantly analysing their processes and waste streams to see if there is any way to create further value.
What advice would you give to aspiring young entrepreneurs?
Don't sit about with an idea – get out there and speak to people about it and start getting feedback and tweaking your idea. The sooner you speak to people about your idea, the sooner you know if there is real demand for your product or service, and from there you can start to develop your business. It's easier said than done, but don't fear making mistakes when you start up, there are individuals and organisations out there who are there to help start-up businesses, so find them and speak to them and get the ball rolling!
Got a Smart Idea for a Business?
Do you have a smart business idea that will provide a solution to the world’s future transport, food, energy, or natural resource challenges, or make our urban environments cleaner and more sustainable places to work and live in? If so you can apply online now for funding!