Entrepreneur Tim Chater has told The Guardian newspaper how his MBA course at Bath helped him to get his business off the ground.
Tim is a Bath Executive MBA student and launched a new drinks brand with the backing of £360,000 of investment funding and venture capital.
Journalist Liz Lightfoot highlights his story as a case in point for how ‘entrepreneurialism is the new ingredient in MBAs’.
He says in the article: “The Bath MBA has been instrumental because it filled in the gaps in my experience. The lecturers in entrepreneurship understand the grassroots world of start-ups. The fact that I learned how to put together a credible business plan with the rigour to impress investors gave me the confidence I needed. Without the Bath MBA, I don’t think I would have got my company off the ground.”
Tim founded Future Drinks Ltd with his business partner Luke Sapsed. The company has collaborated with well-known cider brand Brothers Drinks, to produce and bottle a new drink called KOJI, produced in the west country.
Despite testing times for businesses, Future Drinks Ltd secured not just the £360,000 they needed to launch the product, but also turned down funding from other sources.
It is a naturally infused soft drink, low in calories and with no additives. The inspiration for the unique manufacturing technique came from Japan. The product is aimed at busy, health conscious consumers who want to enjoy a soft drink full of flavour but without the associated calories.
Tim’s background in drinks marketing was a great starting point in developing a new product but he is certain that he would not have been credible in securing funding without the skills development he achieved with his Bath Executive MBA.
He said: “People tend to think that this is a bad time to start a new business because we are in an economic downturn and they perceive that there is no venture/ investment capital accessible. In fact while times are tough, and investment is difficult to find, it is determination, a good management team and an excellent idea that wins the day.
“In my situation with KOJI, the MBA did two things for me. First it enabled me to understand all the elements of a business plan. That may sound a bit uninteresting but I soon learnt the importance of a sound plan, coherently presented, as it is a sales document vital to engage with potential investors. Secondly, the MBA helped me understand what I didn’t know.
“Ultimately the MBA gave me confidence that I could pitch the whole business idea effectively to secure the backing we needed.”
Tim’s course director, Professor Michael Beverland, said: “Bringing not only a new product to life but establishing a new venture in one of the most competitive product categories requires an understanding of marketing strategy, entrepreneurial development, brand management, consumer behaviour, operations and finance, all of which are hallmarks of Bath’s world class program.”
If you enjoyed this article you might also like:
Bath’s student shop goes national, June 2012
Student entrepreneurs triumph at Deloitte, March 2012