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Equifeast wins national business innovation award

How a misbehaving horse inspired a husband and wife team.

sally & malcolm green

Equifeast at FSB Awards

Equifeast has beaten hundreds of entrants to win the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Worldpay UK Business Innovation of Year Award.

Since launching the business in 2005, the family firm who design, manufacture and market nutritional supplements for horses across the UK has tripled UK sales in the past three years. It has brought to market over five new products and count Harry Meade and Olympian Laura Tomlinson as loyal customers.

Marketing and research director Malcolm Green freely admits he’s not the best horse rider, but when his horse Paddy persistently kept misbehaving, he decided it might not be his poor riding skills alone at fault. He researched the supplement market to source something to help calm the horse and after several trials delivered poor results, the trained biologist decided to take matters into his own hands.

Sally and Malcolm Green were already involved in the animal supplement market having launched The Birdcare Company in 1994. They decided to apply the same research and logic to develop a supplement for Paddy and the research results were so positive they launched Equifeast to market in 2005.

The horse supplement sector is an overcrowded market place. With more than 30 companies competing for space, therefore it was crucial Equifeast launched with a new offering to standout and survive in this niche market.

equifeast team

The Equifeast team

Equifeast’s Chelated Calcium Technology is now patented in the UK, Australia and Canada with other overseas patents pending. The ability to deliver such an innovative new product has enabled Equifeast to rapidly become one of the fastest growing businesses in the sector and a market leader. It has also opened up potential international markets, such as Australia.

Extensive R&D gives the company its competitive edge. By focusing on the customer benefit, Equifeast has shaped its product development by actual need, not perceived need.

The company has also driven persistent and informative marketing and advertising campaigns to  raise its brand profile and lock down a loyal customer following, including high profile equestrians Gold and Bronze Olympic winner Laura Tomlinson and World Class event rider Harry Meade.

Malcolm Green, marketing and research director, explains: “Last year Harry suffered a serious fall shattering both elbows and doctors gave him a 10 per cent chance of riding again. We worked hard to make tweaks to Wild Lone’s, his horse’s diet to ensure he was in tip top condition and as easy to control as possible, given Harry’s reduced strength following his injury. Undeterred, Harry returned to ride professionally again and made his comeback at Badminton last week, the world’s most prestigious eventing competition. Last year, prior to injury, Harry finished 37th, this year despite the odds, he secured third place, his best ever result. I’m sure our close working and analysis of the feeds gave Harry the edge over his injury and ultimately helped him to succeed.”

Mr Green adds: “This award would not have been possible were it not for our team. Their passion, dedication and enthusiastic approach to every challenge means our business continues to make great strides. Winning the Business Innovation of the Year Award has come at an ideal time. To be able to make international approaches while promoting ourselves as the UK’s most innovative business is a great conversation starter.

“The product was driven by a personal need, but the results were so overwhelmingly positive it would have been a crime not to bring it to mass market. Our customers agree and their support has led to Equifeast becoming one of the leading companies in a very crowded arena. Our journey is still in our infancy, we are always exploring new opportunities, such as the allergy and laminitis markets and our close relationships with our customers will always shape the direction we take.”

Carol Undy, Chairman FSB (Member Services) Ltd, said: “Small businesses are what make Britain great. It takes one idea and the passion to see it through to create a successful business and that’s exactly what Malcolm and Sally did. Their approach to innovation was incredibly impressive. Their ability to nurture product creation based on actual need and their investment in R&D ensured every step was aggressively analysed to ensure excellence.”

Ron Kalifa, Deputy Chairman of Worldpay, said: “Equifeast has raised the bar for innovation, impressively gaining market leadership with a niche product in an industry that has seen UK sales grow by only 3.74% in the last 12 months. They, and all our other finalists this year, have been just outstanding, which is why we’re proud to sponsor the FSB Worldpay UK Business Awards.”

Richard Reed, who is no stranger to the small business world, having founded and grown innocent drinks into a £200m+ business and the UK’s largest smoothie brand, delivered a motivational keynote speech and presented the awards to the winners. Richard comments: “I know all too well about the daily trials and tribulations that small businesses face but also understand they are the back bone to our economy. They must be championed for their contribution – which is exactly what these awards do and I would like to applaud every one of the amazing businesses and entrepreneurs in the room.”

This year almost 1,000 entries were received by the award organisers, an impressive 60 per cent increase on last year. The increase indicates that small businesses, the backbone of our economy, are having a surge in feel-good factor and are celebratory about their achievements.

Category winners received a prize fund of £4,500, plus a half-day Marketing workshop. The FSB Worldpay UK Business of the Year, Lanwarne Landscapes also took home an extra £5,000 in prize money. The awards ceremony took place at the London Hilton Waldorf Hotel on 21 May 2014.

 

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