The Times

Soup tasted so much better after New Covent Garden canned the can: The Times

John Stapleton was studying for a master’s degree in food science at Reading University when he went to the meeting that changed his life. It was the late 1980s and it happened in a pub.

Over a lunchtime pint, Andrew Palmer — a London stockbroker interested in the food industry — outlined his idea for a fresh soup brand sold in a carton rather than a can. He needed a co-founder with scientific expertise and Stapleton fitted the bill.

Get a mentor with a cool head - The Times

It can be lonely at the top of a business: endless decision-making, the burden of responsibility and the pressure of presenting your “game face” to staff, customers and suppliers can be isolating. An experienced business mentor can help.

For Alison Ritchie of Polar Ice, a dry-ice manufacturer in Portarlington, Co Laois, a number of seasoned business people provided guidance and support as she grew a small family business into a multimillion-euro enterprise.