Name: Louise Rezler
Course: International Development with Environment and Society
Hot Buzz serves delicious, quality insects as part of sustainable meals and snacks. Over 2 billion people around the world enjoy insects as a regular protein source but in many places - particularly in the West - insects are not identified as food and are often hated or feared.
What inspired you to start your business?
With the number of people on the planet continually rising and resources depleting, many people think that insects (which require limited land, food, and water) are going to be the future of food sustainability. Hot Buzz is about showing people that insects are food and that they can be a tasty and nutritious part of a regular diet. Insects are high in protein as well as other good things such as calcium, iron, zinc and even fibre and we serve them in a variety of ways to show people how delicious they can be.
How did UEA Student Enterprise help you?
I had never thought that starting a business was something I would or could do - I had no idea what it involved and it seemed almost impossible to think that I could create something out of nothing. the support I have received from UEA Student Enterprise and UnLtd has made it possible. The training, the positive community and, I think above all, the trust that I have received from both organisations has given me the opportunity and space to develop my business - and myself. Aside from the grant that I received, I have had support from the Student Enterprise Officer, improved my business understanding through workshops at UEA and attended a great advice session with Deutsche Bank VPs. attended an amazing UnLtd residential course which taught me so many things. The opportunity to connect with other young entrepreneurs on a similar journey - through UnLtd and through UEA Student Enterprise - was always encouraging and positive.
What worries did you have while setting up your business, and how did you overcome them?
I had never thought about starting a business before and didn't really know anything about it - suppliers, budgets, marketing - what? I was worried about everything. To me, receiving a grant was like someone saying "we know you can do it". After that, I starting attending business shows and seminars, doing research, calling people. I have learnt so many things about marketing and branding as well as networking, organisation and motivation. I think confidence and curiosity are the keys.
I think the greatest challenges have been dealing with bureaucracy and trying to coordinate all the different aspects of my business planning - particularly because I am working in a new area with few systems already set up. This has been demotivating at times but Finbarr was a big help by having faith in me to sort it out but offering advice when I needed it.
Despite some challenges along the way, Hot Buzz is now finally a reality. With no experience whatsoever in business planning and near to no experience in budgeting, networking, operations or marketing, I think I was unlikely to get support for my business and I feel so lucky that UEA Student Enterprise took the gamble.