HOP®, Skip, and Jump for Surrey PGR

HOP® was formed by three University of Surrey students (Geoff, Matt and Ash) in 2018 to help individuals to take control of their long-term health and wellbeing through the foods they eat. HOP® uses crickets as an alternative source of protein to create more nutritious and sustainable protein bars. The team completed courses in PhD Mechanical Engineering, MSc International Business Management, and BSc Accounting and Financial Management, which has given the startup a rounded approach in setting up. Geoff took some time to outline the business journey of HOP®.

The team came together almost 3 years ago with a shared interest in nutrition, exercise (gym and racket sports) and how a protein-rich diet can improve health and all round performance ‘we started to talk about alternative foods as protein sources to maximise health benefits but also the impact that traditional sources of protein like meat can have on the environment’. The team settled on exploring the growing interest in insect protein which can provide higher levels of and better quality protein. In addition with good education and understanding this new option can encourage consumers to eat a wider diet whilst exploring new options and supporting the long term future for the environment and sustainable foods.

HOP® was set up in 2018 ‘we were able to develop the idea and received mentor support from the Student Enterprise team. We also applied for and won some funding in the form of a BESSS award (Business Enterprise Student Support Scheme) along with a SetSquared Researcher to Innovator opportunity to hone our skills in developing the businesses’.

I joined the IoD to meet and make local business connections, and gain essential business skills and understanding. It’s not just enough to have a great idea, you really need to understand what actions you need to make and how to implement them to create something valuable to someone that didn’t exist before.

Studying a dedicated business-related qualification didn’t feel right to me. I wanted to learn from doing, making my own mistakes, learning from them, and talking to local business people about their journeys. The IoD is really great for that! Business is about people, and the IoD is full of knowledgeable and welcoming people.

Current undergrad and postgraduate students at the University of Surrey are some of the most well-positioned individuals to benefit from IoD membership. I believe that we’re natural entrepreneurs and a lot of the skills we gain from our studies transfer over quite well. The research/dissertation and start-up/business journeys are identical. Both are confusing and extremely lonely at times, tough yet rewarding, and makes resilient, independent thinkers. The only difference is the outcome: traditional business professionals create new products and services; researchers create new knowledge. I think IoD is a great vehicle for students to explore a new area with infinite possibilities that compliments their past experience. You can find out more about HOP® and get involved with our live campaign running now until 11th March 2021: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hopbar/hop-sustainable-protein-bars-made-with-crickets?ref=8rphst