Sustainable student spin-out wins ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’
Press release issued: 8 August 2019
University of Bristol alumnus, Charlie Guy, has been crowned national ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ and awarded £30,000 at the Shell Enterprise Development Awards 2019, to grow and develop his sustainable farming company LettUs Grow.
The awards recognise UK entrepreneurs who help accelerate and facilitate a sustainable and low-carbon future. LettUs Grow tackles the growing climate crisis by drastically reducing water and fertiliser usage in agriculture.
Charlie, who graduated with an MEng in Engineering Design in 2016, launched LettUs Grow with fellow students Jack Farmer and Ben Crowther while they were at Bristol in 2015. Jack began his entrepreneurial journey with the University’s Basecamp Student enterprise and start-up team.
Roots were firmly planted at the University when the students were awarded £4,000 at the University’s New Enterprise Competitionalongside consultancy support, enabling them to take their futuristic vertical farming concept to market. The relationship has continued to flourish with support from business incubator SETsquared Bristol and the employment of student interns and graduates through University programme.
Through using new indoor agriculture techniques and systems, they aim to improve the efficiency and sustainability of indoor farming and ease farmers’ lives by delivering consistently higher crop yields with controlled irrigation systems.
The farming technology developed by LettUs Grow grows plants suspended in the air using a mist to deliver nutrients, which reduces water and fertiliser usage by up to 95%.
LettUS Grow is also currently working with Dr Antony Dodd, a senior lecturer at the University of Bristol School of Biological Sciences, to study circadian rhythms in indoor farming situations.
Charlie Guy, Co-founder and Managing Director of LettUs Grow, said: “I am truly honoured to have won amongst such an impressive group of finalists. Making it through the competitive process for the national competition is fantastic validation for the potential impact of our technology. It’s a testament to the amazing work from our whole team over the past three years, to bring our unique indoor growing products to market. We’re looking forward to working with the best growers from around the world, to realise the full impact of our technology over the coming years!"
Ana Avaliani, Head of the Enterprise Hub at the Royal Academy of Engineering and one of the award judges, said: “Despite working in the increasingly popular sector of vertical farming, Charlie impressed the judges with LettUs Grow’s truly innovative patent-pending technology with a unique farm management software for indoor and vertical farms.
“Charlie himself has all of the makings of an entrepreneur: his vision for the company - to grow the world’s leading vertical farming business - was evident in every aspect of the presentation, and his passion to feed people in a more sustainable way was clear. I’m excited to watch the business scale and expand into markets outside the UK.”