Melissa Blake won the Avast Sharks Startup Challenge for her company, Sweet Pea Spoons, which will deliver fresh, homemade baby food to families in London suburbs
Avast is helping a 22-year-old entrepreneur who was fed her mother’s homemade baby food as an infant to launch a company to grow, make, and deliver similar baby food to other families.
Melissa Blake of Richmond, a suburb of London, is the winner of the Avast Startup Sharks challenge from the Women in Business Expo last month in Farnborough, England.
Melissa Blake, founder of Sweet Pea Spoons.
“I always knew I wanted to be my own boss and also that I wanted to work in the food industry,” Melissa said. “I’ve been quite passionate about healthy eating and fresh vegetables. When I discovered that there still isn’t a convenient product for families that want homemade baby food from scratch, I decided to revisit my mum’s idea.”
Melissa’s mother, Judy, grew her own vegetables and made purees to feed her. Friends were intrigued by the idea and offered to pay Judy for food to give their babies. “Fast forward 22 years, and here we are,” Melissa said. Judy will help her daughter with the homemade baby food subscription business, which they are calling Sweet Pea Spoons.
Avast is giving the newborn company 1,000 pounds of seed funding after Melissa presented her idea at the Women In Business event. "It's inspiring to see women like Melissa creating new businesses,” said Avast Chief Marketing Officer Robin Selden, a judge in the pitch competition. “Venture capital hasn't always reached out to entrepreneurs like her, which is why Avast wanted to help with financial support for this innovative food delivery company in its infancy."
Melissa said she is investigating the market, interviewing parents, and preparing to launch the company in the best way – including thorough cybersecurity. “Every part of our online operation needs to be secure,” she said. “Email, privacy information, payment processing. Our business involves families’ babies, and our goal is for the food, experience, and cybersecurity to be healthy in every way."
Look for Sweet Pea Spoons to begin serving English babies healthy homemade food in 2020. Find out more about the Women in Business Expo here.