Vegware founder gives entrepreneur talk at Edinburgh Business School

Last night I (Kat) attended Joe Frankel’s entrepreneur’s talk at The University of Edinburgh Business School to listen to Joe’s unique story about how he turned a compostable spoon into a fast-growing eco packaging firm.

As part of the ‘Inspiring Entrepreneurs’ series, The Edinburgh E-Club invited the former Edinburgh student to share his entrepreneurial journey, and to give advice, and inspire future entrepreneurs about developing an idea into a fast growing business venture.

I have been at Vegware on my marketing placement for just over a month, so this blog is an amalgamation from both an employee, and a student’s perspective. I am currently studying Marketing Management at Edinburgh Napier University and as part of my degree I must undergo an internship to develop professional skills, and most importantly; put academic theory into business practice. And listening to Joe’s inspirational story certainly gave me a useful insight.

I think most people would agree that the most impressive aspect of Joe’s journey is that his early career was far from anything business related. Joe Frankel was working as a Senior Research Fellow at Edinburgh University. Whilst on a year’s placement at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California, he became aware of non-plastic eco packaging after his wife showed him a compostable spoon from the local farmers market. And seven years later, Vegware is a fast growing and global eco packaging pioneer with a great future ahead.

Joe’s story is a great example of transferable skills. By applying his research, mathematical and computer skills, Joe set up a website, researched and located the appropriate packaging materials, and calculated budgets for his business venture. This is proof that no matter what career path you intend to pursue, there is always an opportunity for you to apply your existing skills to different avenues.

As a marketing student with a great interest in social enterprise and relationship-based marketing, I was certainly inspired by his story – and I wasn’t the only one. Caius, an engineering student from Edinburgh University said: “Of all the presentations I’ve been to, Joe was one of the best speakers I’ve seen in E-Club”.


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