Aston University graduate and founder of healthy snack company explains why you should start your business young
BSc (Hons) Business and Management graduate, George Greenhill, founded Protein Package at seventeen. He has since dramatically expanded his venture, moving into a warehouse and is about to hit a turnover of over £1 million.
George founded Protein Package from his parent’s home in Wolverhampton. At the time he had just completed his A Levels and was preparing to start his degree in Business and Management at Aston University.
As George and his friends headed off to university, he stopped playing football and started going to the gym. This is when he realised a gap in the market for sourcing exciting and good value healthy snacks.
He said: “I realised that for healthy snacks, the two purchasing options I had were to go to a supermarket…[or] to go online”.
When it came to buying from a supermarket, George said: “Some of the bars were £3.00, which is the same price as a meal deal. As a student, it didn’t make sense at all to me.
“The other option was to go online but you had to buy a whole box of the same flavour and be stuck with that taste for months - which gets a little boring after a while.
“My idea was to build a website where people could visit and could mix and match different brands from around the world, sort of like an online pick and mix shop for healthy snacks and supplements.
“This meant you didn’t have to be stuck with the same product over a long period of time and you don’t get charged ridiculous prices.”
Choosing a university
George was living in Wolverhampton when he was making the important decision as to which university he should attend. For him, finding a more local university was important.
He said: “When I was looking for universities, I didn’t want to move too far away from home. Aston [University] was renowned for being really good for business in particular, which is what I knew I wanted to go into.
‘’I always knew I was really interested in business and maybe would start my own business at some point. I was just waiting for the idea. I looked around at local universities and based on league tables for business it was obvious Aston [University]…was a good fit for me.’’
Aside from the excellent reputation of Aston Business School, George also liked the idea of living in Birmingham.
He said: “It’s a bigger city than Wolverhampton so there’s a lot more to do. If you want to go out and do things, there’s a lot of bars and entertainment. There are also unique things to do like Flight Club.
“I think Birmingham is like a smaller version of London.”
Why Aston University?
George found that the teaching at Aston University directly helped him with running his business.
He said: “I enjoyed going to lectures and the teaching style as opposed to being sat in a classroom.
“In the second and third year you go into a lot more detail on the theories behind online business and economics. You can draw a lot of similarities between the two.”
For his placement year, rather than work for somebody else, George was able to work for himself and develop his company.
He said: “Before I joined Aston University, someone mentioned BSEEN and their Enterprise Scheme. Instead of doing my placement year, working for someone else. I worked for myself.”
He also loved meeting new people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures at the University. He said: “I think it’s a really diverse community and there are people from lots of different backgrounds.”
Advice for young entrepreneurs
George believes that the best time to launch a business is whilst you’re young.
He said: “It’s the best time to set up a business if I’m honest. I started this business with £300. Luckily, I was still living at home, so my parents helped me out.
“I felt it was the best time to do it because you haven’t got much to lose. You’re coming into it with a fresh idea…[and] the worst thing that could’ve happened to me was that I would lose £300. The main thing I’d say is just go for it if you’ve got a decent idea and you think people will get value from it. People will naturally come be drawn to that.”
The future for Protein Package
George hopes to continue diversifying his business by sourcing products from across the world.
He said: “When I first started, I had to buy from wholesalers, now we work more directly with the brands. We stock products now where we’re the only supplier in the whole of the UK. We’ve got exclusive contracts with different brands.”
Protein Package plans on expanding further by continuing to form relationships with new, exciting brands and bringing them to the UK market.