London Met helps students grow berry business

Finnish students set up importing company with support from Accelerator, the University's business incubator
Date: 2 May 2014

A pair of Finnish students at London Metropolitan University are set for entrepreneurial success after setting up a business importing traditional Finnish ingredients. 

Sports Therapy student Anna Ojutkangas and Fashion Marketing student Eveliina Suoyrjo secured a place in Accelerator, London Met’s specialist business incubator, and now have their company up-and-running. 

Based in the Hatchery – which provides office space and business support for start-up companies – the students are building their brand, Arctic Power Berries.

“We had tried to start the business on our own, but it wasn’t as easy as it sounded and there were a lot of things to consider. We often got stuck on the smallest matters because we couldn’t find enough information,” said Anna.

When the girls entered the Hatchery, they found it extremely helpful and felt they finally had the tools to get the business started for real.

“It’s just great. All the people in the Hatchery have done this themselves, so they understand what we’re going through and can help us with all the practical stuff, like dealing with banks,” Anna added.

Arctic Power Berries has already had help with their logo design, website and web store from the Hatchery.  

The dynamic duo came across their business idea by accident. “Every time we went home to Finland we both brought back several products that are traditional to Finns, like rye bread and salty liquorice, but also a powder made of berries like cranberry and sea buckthorn,” Anna explains.

Loving the product themselves, one day the girls decided to track down the manufacturer of the flour. When it turned out that the producer was an 88 year old lady from Finland with no email or phone connection, they had no other option but to write her a letter asking if they could start exporting her products to the UK. With the lady answering ‘yes’, the girls began in earnest.

Anna said: “We’ve had a fabulous reception, mainly by Scandinavians who know our products, but from others too.

“We always wanted to start the business based on the greatness of the products. They are just so natural, pure and so good for you and we just wanted to share them with other people.”

Anna also says that putting Finland on the health-food map is an aim of theirs, as the country has many natural ingredients for a healthy lifestyle.

Eveliina and Anna have been best friends all their lives, so it was natural for them to move to London to study together. They are now determined to grow their business by expanding their selection of healthy and natural products.

You can view and shop their products on: arcticpowerberries, keep up with them on Instagram (arcticberries) or on Twitter (arctic_berries).