July 2022

James’ booming business ranked among Britain’s fastest-growing firms

By Darren Campbell

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Business keeps on booming for a University College Birmingham graduate whose firm has been ranked as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country.

James Whiting's business The Skinny Food Co has been listed in the inaugural Sunday Times 100 rankings as the 18th fastest-growing private company in Britain, and fourth fastest-growing in the Midlands.

The prestigious ranking comes after the health food firm amassed sales last year of £19.5 million, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 125%.

It represents a rapid rise for the business James co-founded five years after completing his Tourism Business Management BA (Hons) degree at University College Birmingham in 2013.

"I believe I learned many skills during my studies which shaped me to be the person I am now"

James Whiting Tourism Business Management BA (Hons) | Co-founder of The Skinny Food Co

Initially launched with a variety of zero-calorie sauces and syrups designed for diabetics, The Skinny Food Co has rapidly expanded its range to more than 500 products, many now featuring on the shelves of major retailers including Morrisons, Lidl, Aldi and Holland & Barrett as well as being sold through Amazon.

The company has also amassed an enormous following on social media with more than 800,000 followers across its platforms, recently featuring content with star names including former World's Strongest Man Eddie Hall, champion boxer Leigh Wood and footballers for Premier League newcomers Nottingham Forest.

You may have seen The Skinny Food Co products on the shelves in a shop near you

It has been a remarkable entrepreneurial adventure for James – and one for which his time at University College Birmingham helped him to prepare.

"I believe I learned many skills during my studies which shaped me to be the person I am now," said James. "I had countless opportunities to enhance my employability, which I grabbed with both hands.

"The teaching was fantastic, and the courses were highly engaging and fun while developing my knowledge."

Having only recently celebrated The Skinny Food Co's fourth birthday in May, James said he had been overwhelmed by the growth in popularity of his product range.

"It's great to be recognised as one of the fastest-growing companies," he told the Nottingham Post. "We are delighted at how fast the company has grown and how well the customers have responded to the products, and how popular they became in such a short amount of time."

Find out more about James’ company on The Skinny Food Co website.

Photo credit: Joseph Raynor / Nottingham Post

Rosie Ginday MBE, founder of Miss Macaroon

Excelling entrepreneurs

James is not the only graduate from University College Birmingham to have excelled in enterprise, with many other former students enjoying success running their own companies.

Three years after completing our Professional Cookery course, Rosie Ginday MBE founded her social enterprise Miss Macaroon, which now has outlets in Birmingham's Great Western Arcade and Resorts World.

The company, which produces a range of handmade premium macaroons, has received widespread recognition for providing opportunities for long-term unemployed young people, as well as recently featuring on TV adverts for NatWest and ITV's Backing Business campaign (see video below):

Other recent success stories include Aviation and Airport Management BA (Hons) graduate Shehryar Awan, whose luxury holiday business Exquisite Escapes has attracted a wealth of high-profile clients, from former world champion boxer Amir Khan and his wife, influencer and model Faryal Makhdoom, to reality TV stars and even royalty.

Meanwhile former Hospitality and Tourism Management BA (Hons) student Veronika Jurickova has received plaudits for her flourishing photography firm, Veronika J Fine Art Photography, which was named the West Midlands' Best Newcomer at the regional finals of the Wedding Industry Awards earlier this year.

Explore more of our student success stories.

Our Enterprise Hive: Backing budding businesses

University College Birmingham is dedicated to supporting the ambitions of young entrepreneurs studying on our courses, with a wide range of resources available for those who want to start their own business.

Our Enterprise Hive offers a package of start-up support including one-to-one consultations, industry mentoring, enterprise workshops and networking opportunities.

Further support is also available for those looking to take their business to the next level, including an intensive start-up business bootcamp, office space and even a business start-up grant.

Find out more about our Enterprise Hive and support we provide for student entrepreneurs here.

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