Next Steps for The Bug Shack

Over the next four weeks we will be bringing you a series of ‘next steps’ interviews with our 2015 Catalyst Centre graduates. First up is Dr Jenny Josephs, Founder of The Bug Shack.

Next Steps for The Bug Shack

Over the next four weeks we will be bringing you a series of ‘next steps’ interviews with our 2015 Catalyst Centre graduates. First up is Dr Jenny Josephs, Founder of The Bug Shack.

A truly innovative idea, Jenny’s aim is to produce tasty and nutritious meat alternatives for people who want to try something a bit different. Across the globe there’s a huge movement gearing towards eating insects as a nutritional, tasty and environmentally friendly alternative to meat. Insects contain all of the protein, amino acids, iron and calcium needed in a healthy diet and they come with the added bonus of being very low in fat, and there are considerable environmental benefits to be gained too.

So we asked Jenny quite simply: what next? I want The Bug Shack to be the most talked about edible insect company in the UK. There’s much to be done and I’m currently working on various things to take my business to the next level. The brand has more or less been created, I’ve done market research and I hope to have developed a well-rounded product line to take to the mass marketplace soon. I am looking at how to get a business grant and I would really like to keep my business base here at the Science Park.

You’re obviously quite an expert when it comes to our insect nation, but how have you found running a business? The Catalyst Centre judging panel really challenged me in terms of what I want to achieve and how to get there. If I’m honest, I am finding the idea of running a business demanding but I’m extremely passionate about entomophagy. I recognise that I’m a slow decision-maker so I’ve been thinking that perhaps I need a business partner to complement my skill set and drive The Bug Shack forward.

And what about marketing? My website needs a complete overhaul as it doesn’t currently represent the brand effectively to my target market. I can see that now. I recently did a TEDx talk, a global not for profit organisation devoted to giving a voice to ideas worth spreading. That seemed to go well – there was certainly a lot of interest so that’s really encouraging. On the back of this I will be taking my fledgling products to sustainability events and trying to create a buzz at science events throughout the year.

So, is public speaking the way forward, do you think? The judging panel think that I’m a good public speaker and that what I’ve got to say is really interesting so they’ve suggested that I spend time working on building a profile through this route. I have been asked to speak at several events so this is encouraging. This idea also opens up the possibility of me becoming a consultant specialising in entomophagy– this service could work alongside or quite separately to the product line.

What other advice were you given by the Catalyst Centre judges? Sandra Sassow told me that she thinks there is a really big market out there for my type of product. She loved my new brand and that was really encouraging. She offered me some contacts to follow up too.

Robert and David were quite right to ask: what am I waiting for?! The judges were all aligned by saying that I need to just get out there and start doing it. Peter echoed this, saying that although the concept is new, the market will move fast – many companies are launching products that include edible insects – so it’s important to get the product ready and start testing the market now.

Other ideas were around creating a premium dinner party pack for food revolutionaries and trendsetters, an ‘Exotic Entobox’, and catering for Halloween or specific themed evenings where people will spend good money just to have it as part of their evening.

Layla-Jane Stacey from the Catalyst Centre judging panel had this to add: “Jenny clearly still has a lot to think through and has found the Catalyst Centre a challenge and an eye-opener in terms of what it takes to make it in business. However, she has a great idea, the credentials, the subject knowledge and experience and she is brilliant at public speaking. She’d make a fantastic consultant and speaker in this field and I think she should really hit social media too – she’s amazing with words and building her online following would really help her to build her business too.”