Name: Paul Lindley
Businesses: Founder of children’s food brand Ella’s Kitchen; named after his daughter; and toddler toiletries brand Paddy’s Bathroom; named after his son. Co-founded social enterprise The Key is E.
Why you should know about him: Formerly deputy manager director of Nickelodeon, Lindley launched Ella’s Kitchen with a social goal to tackle rising rates of obesity and diabetes among children in the UK.
Having built the hugely successful Ella’s Kitchen brand from the ground up (it was acquired by the Hain Celestial Group in 2013) Lindley is passionate about championing issues surrounding children’s health and small enterprise.
Read on for five fascinating facts about the serial entrepreneur and social enterprise advocate…
1. Before Ella’s Kitchen he had no retail experience whatsoever
Prior to starting Startups Awards winning company Ella’s Kitchen, Lindley was deputy managing director of children’s television channel Nickelodeon. He quit his job and gave himself two years to get his business up and running using £25,000 in savings.
Four months before his own self-imposed deadline and with savings running low, Lindley’s onslaught of phone calls and emails to supermarkets bore fruit: Sainsbury’s agreed to stock his product. After remortgaging his house to help fund the supply, he approached his old employer Nickelodeon to offer them profits for free advertising space. They agreed and the rest, as they say, is history. The business now takes an estimated 20% share of the UK’s baby food market and is stocked as far as the US, Norway and Sweden.
2. He’s passionate about improving children’s health
Founding Ella’s Kitchen wasn’t just a business opportunity for Lindley. With child obesity rising fast, child nutrition becoming a major issue and unimpressed by poor quality baby food; it was a chance change the diet and improve the health of children across the UK.
Ella’s Kitchen sponsored and launched the Averting A Recipe For Disaster report, a cross political party plan to improve nutrition for under fives. The report led to a campaign to pressure government, business and parents to change the way young children are introduced to a healthier lifestyle and effect life long changes.
Lindley also lobbied the government during the 2015 general election to make commitments in their manifestos to improve health, nutrition and food education for under-fives.
3. He’s a keen champion of small business
Lindley has previously lobbied, and continues to lobby, the government to adopt a tax relief scheme he developed in partnership with the Consumer Forum which he co-founded in 2009. It encourages small businesses to become more informed about their customers’ needs, maximise their trademark asset and build more world class British brands.
He will also be speaking at this year’s International Festival of Business which will take place at Liverpool’s Exhibition Centre on June 13 2016.
4. He co-founded a social enterprise venture in Africa with a former child soldier
In September 2014, Lindley co-founded The Key is E with former South Sudanese child soldier and now musician and political activist Emmanuel Jal – a social enterprise which seeks to improve the lives of African children in poverty through the use of entrepreneurship and education.
The initiative supports the growth of social businesses and the creation of employment opportunities and promotes the sharing of knowledge and connections. It will choose six entrepreneurs to join a six-month accelerator programme to kick-start what it hopes will be a circle of support and inspiration.
5. He has successfully combined profit with purpose and built one of the”best companies to work for”
In February, coinciding with the firm’s 10th anniversary, Ella’s Kitchen was awarded certification as a B Corporation for its role in improving the health of children and “commitment to putting purpose ahead of profit”. It joins a roster of more than 1,600 other companies that have been certified since the launch of the movement in 2008.
More over, Ella’s Kitchen was recently named as one of The Sunday Times 100 “best small companies to work for” in its annual 2016 index thanks to its staff satisfaction, office culture and more.
You can get the lowdown on other influential entrepreneurs in this series, such as:
- Ann Summers’ Jacqueline Gold
- Lastminute.com co-founder, digital champion and peer Martha Lane Fox
- MyVoucherCodes.co.uk founder Mark Pearson
- Tech City driver Rohan Silva
- And SB.TV founder Jamal Edwards