Bringing a taste of Africa to Scotland

Mon, 30 Apr 2018 10:24:00 BST

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) will celebrate the fact a company created through its entrepreneurial hub will be the first to bring a product to market.

The company, Hippo & Hedgehog, produces Baotic, a drink made from the African superfruit baobab. The company was last year awarded a £1,000 grant from Santander Universities and won Scottish Edge Wildcard funding of £10,000.

The company sources baobab through a charity supply chain that benefits community harvesters across Africa and commits a minimum of 10% profit to support development across the continent.

Hippo & Hedgehog will now celebrate the official launch of Boatic with a special event at GCU on Monday, April 30. The event will also recognise that the company has been heavily supported by UHatch, GCU’s incubator space designed to assist entrepreneurial students, graduates and staff members.

One half of Hippo & Hedgehog is GCU graduate Isatou Njai, who was recently awarded a prestigious Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship. The fellowship recognises promising science and technology researchers and supports their development into successful entrepreneurs by awarding them a year’s salary, training and access to mentorship from RSE Fellows and other successful entrepreneurs.

Isatou, who co-founded Hippo & Hedgehog alongside her partner Paul Blackler, said: "It is incredibly fulfilling to officially launch Drink Baotic to the market, this is only the start and we are really looking forward to the next stages in the journey of working with distributors and retailers to get Baotic into stores.

"I can’t thank GCU enough. Their support has been fundamental to our success."

UHatch Academic Director Professor Bruce Wood said: “Seeing individuals and start-up companies that we are supporting at GCU flourish inspires the confidence of the other exciting fledgling companies we are supporting at the University though UHatch.”

The fellowship is the latest in a series of successes for Isatou. She won £5,000 for her company and a meet-and-greet with Sir Richard Branson after triumphing in a Virgin Media business event. Isatou impressed the judges with a pitch as part of the Virgin Media Voom Tour.