A scale-up superfood brand born out of the founder’s frustration at the lack of healthy and tasty ‘free-from’ food products on the market, has beaten fierce competition from across the UK to be named as FSB’s (Federation of Small Businesses) UK Small Business of the Year 2018.
Creative Nature, run by West Molesey - based entrepreneur Julianne Ponan, also picked up the Scale-Up Business of the Year award during the ceremony at the Park Plaza Hotel Westminster Bridge in London.
The winning business, which develops and markets a new range of innovative ‘free-from’ healthy foods, was recognised because of its continuous product innovation, inventive marketing, strong export model, and rapid growth.
Brian Woods, FSB Regional Chairman and Friend, said: “My congratulations to Creative Nature. The awards clearly demonstrate how small businesses are embracing and driving innovation, technology and ecology to drive the UK’s export economy, inspire the next generation and, in many cases, help to look after our planet.
“Small businesses make for a strong economy, and it is through supporting small businesses such as Creative Nature that we’ll continue to lead the world in entrepreneurialism.”
Julianne Ponan, owner and CEO of Creative Nature, has the medical condition anaphylaxis which is an extreme and severe allergic reaction to all nuts, some seeds and certain additives. It was the challenge of finding nut-free, additive-free healthy snacks available on the market that led her to create her own. Julianne experimented with the addition of superfood ingredients to improve the nutrient value, testing the flavours on her partner Matthew Ford. The Creative Nature brand was born.
Creative Nature has achieved rapid success. Soon after launching its first product to over 2,000 Co-op stores in 2017, it had become one of the three best-selling healthy snacks. The small firm now exports to markets in Switzerland, Iceland, Jordan, Malta and Brunei; has a range of more than 25 innovative baking mix, green powder, healthy flapjack bar, superfood powder, wholefood and breakfast topping products; supplies to major supermarkets including Sainsbury and Asda; and has an annual turnover heading towards the £millions.
FSB Small Business of the Year Award winner, Julianne Ponan, CEO and owner of Creative Nature, said: “I’m thrilled to be recognised as the FSB Small Business of the Year 2018. As a small business, innovation is the key to the sustainability of our successful business performance.
"We constantly focus on developing new and exciting products. Our products will constantly push the boundaries of ‘free-from’ and will introduce new taste and eating experiences for consumers.”