Sometimes big ideas come in small packages. Founded by three young women while still at high school, Bayuble was born out of the Young Enterprise Scheme and is all about solving the problem of plastic waste from fruit labels.
Meet the founders Zoe Rookes, Maggie Peacock and Sarah Wixon. They are one of the start-ups taking part in our three-month Sprout 2022 Accelerator in the Cohort VIII intake.
"We were looking to solve a plastic problem that wasn't just your usual plastic bags. Living in the Hawke's Bay at the time, the nation's fruit bowl, we thought about the plastic labels on fruit and thought there must be a better alternative to little plastic labels everywhere," said Zoe.
In many ways, the horticultural sector, much like the wider primary sector, is one steeped in its traditions and arguably has bigger fish to fry when it comes to its sustainability and environmental footprint than fruit labels. When the trio started doing their market research and talking to growers about their idea, it was met with a resounding 'yes!'.
The waste behind the small plastic fruit labels is more than meets the eye, and with over $3 billion spent on food packaging in NZ every year, Bayuble is hoping to get a slice of that action.
"The business is unique in that three young women run it, and we’re doing something that hasn't been done before by utilising fruit waste, a key ingredient in our fruit stickers," said Maggie.
With all three women recently graduating from university, they bring a diverse set of skills to the business, Maggie, director of product development, Zoe is director of marketing and communications, and Sarah is director of strategy. But they say that every part of the business is very much a team effort as they work to grow their business and get their compostable labels on fruit worldwide.
"My main focus as a product developer is working on our MVP to get ready for trial by July. From there, we have some big goals of replacing the majority of plastic labels, first in New Zealand and then around the world."
Targeting higher-end smaller markets where consumers are already willing to pay a higher price for a more sustainable alternative, they’re hopeful that the commercial reception will be positive.
Being young and very much at the start of their professional careers, they've had their fair share of feelings of doubt. Without the fallback of industry experience that many other entrepreneurs have, the trio have had to rely on each other to act as sounding boards and find other like-minded budding entrepreneurs to talk to.
"Often, it takes a fellow entrepreneur to really understand the challenges you are facing as an entrepreneur. We took a lot of time at the start to learn our market, learn what consumers wanted, what growers wanted. I'm sure we've made a lot of mistakes along the way, but I think if we hadn't, we might not be where we are now," said Zoe.
With the labelling market globally set to be worth 5 billion USD by 2024, the Bayuble team are well-positioned to take their own chunk of that and solve a niggly problem all at the same time.
Find out more about our Sprout Accelerator.