7 March 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
Dr Evie Kemp founded Haskapa with her husband Simon after a trip to Nova Scotia, Canada, where they first learned about the locally-grown haskap berry. Harnessing the haskap’s extraordinary taste and deep colour, they launched an award-winning juice that sold throughout one of Canada’s largest supermarket chains. However, Evie felt that from a nutritional perspective there was much more to this berry than its distinct flavour. They researched numerous methods to capture the berry’s unusually high levels of naturally-occurring nutritional anthocyanins, which led to creating their signature freeze-dried haskap berry powder.
Dr Evie Kemp worked for many years as a consultant in occupational medicine at the Centre for Occupational Health and Wellbeing, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She has a particular interest in doctors’ and medical students’ health and wellbeing and is passionate about lifestyle medicine. Alongside co-founding Haskapa, for the last few years Evie has been working as an independent physician, university lecturer and trainer.
Evie has co-ordinated a number of years of research and product development for Haskapa, commissioning haskap berry research at universities in Canada and the UK, as well as organising several Haskapa symposia at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia.
What would you love to share to encourage other women to start their own business?
It is important to remember that you bring experience, knowledge and skills with you from all the other parts of your life. My previous experience as a medical consultant in the NHS, managing teams, running workshops, lecturing to doctors and medical students, being a youth leader, wife, mother and friend have all enhanced my life skills and given me useful tools to start and grow Haskapa.
As an NHS consultant in occupational medicine, I was often involved in assessing and trying to reduce work related stress. One of the biggest stressors for healthcare workers is not always having control over our working lives as sick patients keep coming through the door. Alonside the challenge of juggling workload, the wonderful thing about being a self-employed entrepreneur is that you have more control over planning your diary and working life.
Beware of surrounding yourselves with too many like-minded people as you may have the same blind spots. I am a Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type trainer and I find this a useful tool when building teams. My husband and I have totally opposite personality profiles, for example he is a big picture person, and I am a detail person, he steps back from a problem and I am more likely to jump in. Our different personality types can be complimentary as we look at issues and challenges from different perspectives.
What are your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
- Be passionate about what you are doing
- Good communication is key to everything
- Be cheeky – if you don’t ask you don’t get. The worst that can happen is that someone says no
- Flexibility is key – be prepared to do anything and everything
- Look after your own wellbeing. I have a standing/sitting desk and often have meetings standing up
- My husband and I have a rule not to talk business in bed!
Who are the 5 women who inspire you the most?
Dr Rosalind Franklin, chemist who discovered the structure of DNA
Baroness Ruth Deech, academic, lawyer, bioethicist and politician
Prof Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at University of Oxford and developer of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine
Dame Fiona Caldicott, psychiatrist, first female president of Royal College of Psychiatrists and first National Data Guardian
Dr Fiona Godlee, first female editor of British Medical Journal from 2005
What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?
“If you do not make time for your wellness you will be forced to make time for your illness”