Telephone: +44 (0) 7790 146403
John has achieved business success born of passion, vision, determination and, ultimately, entrepreneurship. John has created and grown successful consumer-led businesses in both the UK and the USA. He has learned hugely from both successes and failures and speaks passionately about both. Having exited his third business, John now actively manages an Investor/Non-Executive Director portfolio, delivering value-added business growth advice, guidance and mentoring to businesses in early-stage and scale-up phase.
John has first-hand experience in start-up, early stage growth and scale-up stage businesses, having co-founded three FMCG businesses, building and growing to exit. John helps design creative, practical, experience-based solutions to problems, challenges and opportunities that brand owners encounter in starting, growing and scaling their companies, across all areas of business. In particular John mentors and delivers keynote speeches on the issues and challenges involved in coping with mindset and personal attitude while managing change, uncertainty and growth.
In 1987 John was a founder-member of the New Covent Garden Soup Co Ltd., which pioneered and grew the fresh soup category in the UK. In 1998, on reaching over £20M revenue, John exited New Covent Garden Soup Co. and immediately co-founded Glencoe Foods Inc. which brought the fresh soup-in-a-carton concept to the US. On returning to Europe in 2003, John established a consumer-branded FMCG consultancy and worked with a number of corporate organisations and early-stage growth businesses in the UK, US and continental Europe.
In 2005, John co-founded Little Dish, which supplies healthy, natural and convenient meals and snacks to children over one year. Little Dish created the chilled toddler food category, developing full UK retailer distribution and became the go-to brand in fresh toddler food. Having grown to approx.. £17M annual retail revenues, John exited Little Dish in 2017.
John now advises, invests in and mentors a number of early-stage growth businesses, including:
Grocery Accelerator supports the most innovative and ambitious food and drink brands in the UK through early-stage and scale-up growth. This is achieved through investment, value-added advice, guidance and mentoring combined with trading support, consumer insights and specific training.
John is an investor director in Grocery Accelerator and provides value-added growth advice through the Advisory Board Programme.
Food Works is an Irish Government-supported accelerator programme organised by Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland which develops the next generation of scalable and export-driven Irish food businesses. John is a resident Business Advisor to Board Bia and the Food Works programme.
Nix & Kix is a natural, low calorie, sugar-free vegan adult soft drink brand with a cayenne kick. John is an investor director.
Spoon Cereals produce a range of healthy, simple and tasty alternative breakfast options. John is an investor and mentor.
Though qualified as a scientist (logical & structured), John quickly developed creative & judgement-based skills through his entrepreneurial adventure at New Covent Garden Soup Co. This blend formed the basis for his approach to business, leadership and motivation. John’s reconciliation of these two, often opposing business life philosophies provides him with a rich and varied insight to how to get the best out of both teams and individuals (including, in particular, oneself), with numerous lessons rooted in experience.
As an entrepreneur, John earned responsibility very early and had to cope quickly with strong growth at New Covent Garden Soup Co Ltd, resulting in a practical and hands-on approach. The inevitable lack of structure and process of a start-up; the uncertainty of creating a new category (fresh soup); and the necessity to deal quickly with a lot of different challenges - for which he lacked relevant experience – brought a realisation that, ultimately, you need to “keep calm and trust yourself”.
Through this experience he has developed a number of tools and techniques for getting the best out of both himself and others, on which many of his keynote speeches are based.
John’s authentic approach and straight-forward rationale has its origins in his up-bringing on a farm in the west of Ireland and his early career as an international athlete. This provided John with a practical and down-to-earth gritty determination and an ability to recognise that life – particularly life as an entrepreneur – can be best approached by leveraging the inherent strengths of one’s own personality. John emphasises taking advantage of “early life experiences” to best deal with both challenges and opportunities in professional life.
John believes the only effective way of inspiring, managing and growing a business - of any size - is to do so from a position of authenticity.
John has 30 years’ experience in:
Creating three FMCG start-ups in both the UK and the US;
Growing developing and building these businesses as Founder, CEO & Non-Executive Director;
Successfully exiting two of the three businesses at approx. £20M turnover.
Investing in and advising/mentoring growth-phase businesses in the UK, Germany and Ireland.
Speaking on a variety of business and personal growth topics.