Uhatch business makes TV debut

Wed, 17 Oct 2018 09:10:00 BST
Isatou and fellow Hippo & Hedgehog co-founder Paul Blackler.
Isatou and fellow Hippo & Hedgehog co-founder Paul Blackler.

The Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) graduate behind a breakfast drink made from an African super fruit has starred in a promotional STV advert.

The healthy beverage, which promotes gut health, is the product of Hippo & Hedgehog, a company co-founded by graduate Isatou Njai. The company produces Baotic, a dairy-free, high-fibre breakfast drink made from the super fruit, baobab. The fruit is sourced from the baobab tree and its extract forms a traditional Gambian drink used in celebrations and medicinally.

Isatou, who graduated from GCU’s International Business (Risk Management) programme last year, and is originally from the Gambia, formed the company with her partner, Paul Blackler, who she met while he was working with Voluntary Services Overseas in the country.

STV and Entrepreneurial Scotland joined forces to launch a new initiative celebrating entrepreneurship across Scotland. Summit – Celebrating Scottish Entrepreneurship – shines a spotlight on Scotland’s innovators, visionaries and game-changers.

Isatou said: “We first visited the STV studio after winning the Scottish Edge Wildcard award and have maintained a relationship, so were delighted when they approached us with the opportunity to be involved with the Summit series. 

“Working with STV and filming on the GCU campus was an amazing experience. It is hugely motivational to receive this level of recognition and highly rewarding to be able to support the promotion of entrepreneurship across Scotland, which is buzzing right now.

“As a small up-and-coming business, it was a privilege to have the opportunity to work with, and learn from, a large media organisation such as STV, and the coverage has provided great exposure for Baotic as a brand and our healthy Baobab drinks.”

Hippo & Hedgehog commits a minimum of 10% profit to support community development across Africa and sources baobab through a charity supply chain that benefits local community harvesters throughout different countries and regions of Africa.

Isatou said: “Helping support communities in the areas of health and education is very important to us.”

The company has been supported by UHatch, GCU’s incubator space designed to assist entrepreneurial students, graduates and staff members.

Professor John Lennon, Dean of GCU’s Glasgow School for Business and Society, said: “This is a great, succinct appraisal of a graduate start-up business from our UHatch business incubator.

“It is a company with a clear social and health mission that links back to the founder’s origins and experiences. It tells us that our common good mission is being embraced by our students and it reaffirms the centrality of the on-going support we seek to provide for start-up businesses at GCU.”