Former founding CEO of Gu, James Averdieck now runs The Coconut Collaborative, a yoghurt business which uses coconut milk. Stepping from deserts to organic products, James is a serial entrepreneur who knows the secrets to success and creative marketing. An expert in bringing a quality product to the market, James can educate the business world on the key to bringing a great idea to life, and leading a company to fruition.
James Averdieck lived the dream. As founder and Managing Director of Gü Chocolate Puds - the fastest growing food company in the UK and a brand credited with revolutionising the quality of desserts – he is an entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word. He built the brand with passion and sold it for £32 million. James is compelling and unique as a keynote speaker, as he delivers the message that at the heart of entrepreneurialism lies the idea, the journey, not the exit strategy, and not the final sale price.
The entrepreneur, conveys a strong message about the value of loving your business. Speaking from experience, he shares his innovative ideas about entrepreneurship; simplifying business and using creative agility to make your dreams achievable. He shares the ups and downs of running a business with a raw candour, offering a true insight into the rocky road to success.
The combination of James’ credibility and transparency, mean important and real lessons can be learned from his keynote speeches. Charismatic, intelligent and thoughtful, James is an ideal speaker for the business circuit.
Born in Yorkshire in 1965, James was educated at Uppingham School before studying Economics at Durham University. Following University, James joined the graduate programme at strategy consultants Arthur D. Little, where he learnt about the key drivers to a successful business, this sparked a fire within him to learn more.
James spent 9 years in the Food industry working for Safeway and St Ivel and learnt about Sales and Marketing and running businesses. With St Ivel he moved to Belgium and became a convert to Belgian gastronomy and, as he says, ‘went native on the chocolate front’. It was in Brussels that the seed was sown for his UK chocolate venture. James saw the opportunity of marrying high-quality chocolate patisserie with efficient UK supermarket distribution.
Spotting a gap in the market, James saw that consumers wanted artisanal products and there was a backlash forming against mass produced big brands. He wanted to deliver high-quality products using the best raw materials.
Gü, the brand, is about chocolate extremism – evoking nostalgic memories and magical smells of baking with chocolate. The brand was embraced with love by the supermarkets, launching first in Sainsburys and Waitrose with the others following apace.
James has turned his attentions now to a healthier brand, The Coconut Collective, a non-dairy based brand.
As a speaker, James' knowledge combined with natural story-telling makes him an ideal choice for any audience looking to be inspired.
James Averdieck is the man who built and sold Gü! A master entrepreneur who realised his dream, harnessed his strengths and pioneered a leading brand, his bumpy journey means he has invaluable lessons to impart.