Growth Works supports sustainable business growth in East Cambridgeshire

AgriGrub use food waste to grow Black Soldier Fly Larvae

AgriGrub use food waste to grow Black Soldier Fly Larvae - Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Strategic business growth support from Growth Works is helping local businesses to scale. In one of these success stories, they helped an Ely-based business fill their sales pipeline with new prospects and plan 14 new jobs.

Set up to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions from food waste, AgriGrub had ambitious plans. They use food waste to grow Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL), which they sell (as live calci worms) to wild bird food distributors. BSFL can also be fed to livestock, while BSFL manure acts as a natural pesticide.

Expanding into the dried calci worm market is the next step in AgriGrub’s growth. But this requires a big leap in both scale and cost of production. Managing Director Joe Halstead explains: “Producing dried calci worms takes a lot more processing, and even the smallest customers require a much larger scale. The margins are a lot tighter, as we’re competing with imports from China. So making the leap required is a huge challenge.”

Currently, AgriGrub process 500kg of food waste daily, and supply 200kg of product to customers each month. They are currently setting up a new, larger processing facility. “We’re aiming for a ten tonne daily waste intake by June 2022, to supply 15 tonnes of product a month. And then a further four-fold increase by the end of 2023.”

AgriGrub were confident they could achieve this scale-up. But to do so, they needed to present their business model and plans clearly and persuasively to potential investors and customers. Yet while very strong technically, the AgriGrub team had limited marketing and sales experience.

Growth Works Managing Director Joe Halstead

AgriGrub managing director Joe Halstead - Credit: CONTRIBUTED

The solution: Honing their business growth strategy and boosting marketing skills

Joe first started working with Growth Works last year, receiving 1:1 support from growth advisor Stephen. He also joined the Growth Accelerator programme and attended a webinar series on marketing and sales. Joe found the whole experience “so easy, so straightforward.”

Most Read

“Getting our growth strategy nailed down helped trigger conversations with potential investors,” Joe recalls. “And it meant we could get the company finances and financial projections for the next two years really robust.”

“It’s so useful getting multiple views on your business model and how to communicate it. Our business plan made great sense to us, but I can’t view it with fresh eyes. So talking to the Growth Works advisor about it was really valuable.”

The outcome: A full sales pipeline, 50% more staff, and 14 new jobs planned

Applying what he learned with Growth Works, Joe changed the way he presents AgriGrub’s products and pricing. Now, he’s winning more business with less haggling, and has customers on a waiting list for when AgriGrub’s production capacity increases.

“The way we put across our pricing and other aspects of the business to new customers gives them a huge amount of confidence we can deliver. Before, I had customers lined up for just 500kg a month of product, who were really trying to beat me down on pricing. Now, we have customers lined up for 80 tonnes a month, and all accepting the pricing straight away. It’s transformative.”

The AgriGrub team will soon have grown 50% since working with Growth Works, from four to six people. Once the new processing site is running at full capacity, Joe anticipates needing a team of 20. “So that’s another 14 new jobs by the end of 2023.”

AgriGrub sell the live calci worms to wild bird food distributors

AgriGrub sell the live calci worms to wild bird food distributors - Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Joe credits Growth Works with helping to accelerate AgriGrub’s expansion.

“The way we put across our pricing and other aspects of the business to new customers gives them a huge amount of confidence we can deliver. Before, I had customers lined up for just 500kg a month of product, who were really trying to beat me down on pricing. Now, we have customers lined up for 80 tonnes a month, and all accepting the pricing straight away. It’s transformative.”

Could your business benefit from expert support and funding to help you unlock further growth?

Check your eligibility and tell us about your business to join our programme: growthworkscoaching.uk/get-started/

Or get in touch at enquiries@growthworks.uk