Business of year – ahead of launch

A COMPANY which hasn’t even launched its product yet has been named business of the year at a prestigious ceremony.

A COMPANY which hasn’t even launched its product yet has been named business of the year at a prestigious ceremony.

Chooba, an innovative drinks company set up by two University of Sunderland graduates, was named the UK’s best new business at a London ceremony hosted by BBC TV business reporter Declan Curry.

Gavin Blowman graduated from BA media production in 2006, his business partner Fabian Pohl graduated in BA business administration last summer. The two Sunderland graduates set up Chooba, an all-natural drinks company and, remarkably their new business venture managed to beat every other fledgling business in the UK to the prize – despite the fact that the healthy chilled tea drink is not even available until summer 2008. Creative director of Chooba, Gavin Blowman said: “We looked at the rising problem of obesity and the over-availability of junk food in the UK.

“We wanted to make sure that Chooba was one hundred per cent natural and delivered health benefits rather than contributing to this worrying problem.

“A great deal of hard work, research, product development and branding has already taken place for Chooba.”

Malcolm Buckler, chief executive of UK Business Incubation (UKBI), said: “Chooba demonstrated what business incubation is about, supporting creative individuals with innovative ideas into world class businesses.

“The support they have received from St Peter’s Gate is second to none and I expect to be hearing great things of Chooba in the years to come.” Sunderland company Rich Media Ltd, also based at St Peter’s Gate, won second place in the UKBI Business Incubatee of the Year 2007.

The company publishes a free national football magazine called Open Goal, the football magazine with the highest circulation in the UK.

Both businesses were helped by St Peter’s Gate, the business incubator managed by the University of Sunderland, which has helped start up 37 companies since it launched in 2004.

Julia Macfarlane, manager of St Peter’s Gate, said: “Gavin and Fabian are a delight to work with and deserved this award. I am so proud of them and of the assistance St Peter’s Gate has been able to offer them and our other companies to grow their businesses to their full potential.”

St Peter’s Gate provides incubator units for fledgling entrepreneurs as well as accommodation for established knowledge-based businesses.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer