The main motivations in starting the business were a desire by the founders to have more control over future career possibilities and to develop along a course where the future is not in the hands of other people. There was also the possibility to develop new ideas and technology in the fast changing field of human nutrition and to build an organisation with real monetary and intellectual property capital. Finally, the founders wanted the opportunity to make things happen and to put into practice knowledge and expertise previously developed in academic and large company environments. The major challenges in the first three years of the business were (a) building up relationships with customers and creating new business opportunities from an initial small base; (b) identifying and accessing funding for the business which would not excessively dilute the equity holdings of the founding entrepreneurs and (c) selling new concepts and products in the field of human nutrition.

Success Factor

The business has concentrated on niche areas of expertise where a competitive advantage could be developed as a result of evidence-based research. Extensive and long-term investment on research and development and the appointment of skilled scientists and engineers and building a portfolio of intellectual property with applications in international markets has also contributed to this. Secondly, there has been the development of high quality effective products based around the founders’ technological knowledge and expertise and the development of in house production expertise in particular areas, notably the manufacture of probiotic products where the company has world-class expertise. Finally, developing sales to customers in a worldwide market place.

The Future

The company will continue to invest heavily in research and development to build the intellectual property database and expertise in particular technological areas. It will also develop workforce skills through extensive training to enhance knowledge capital of the company and increase the quality of products and add further production capacity to reduce unit costs and increase the level of automation in the production process. In terms of its markets, Cultech will expand and develop sales of its own branded products nationally and internationally and increase these as a proportion of total company output with the objective of at least doubling company turnover over five years, especially through export markets.