International Gums and Oils, a Cardiff company, beat off hard competition to win a £50,000 investment plus 6 months mentoring from a Newbury based entrepreneur, Shawn Khorassani. This is the first time that the award has been won by a company outside of West Berkshire.
Dr Ahmed Ali, a former Research Director of the Compton Group, based at Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences, is the CEO of International Gums and Oils Limited (IGO). It is a natural products based company supplying the fragrance and flavours industry with high value oleoresins. Oleoresins are a naturally occurring combination of oil and resin that can be extracted from plants. They are a highly concentrated substance that exists in liquid form. The extraction process begins with raw spices that are cleaned and ground, then the spices’ oils are distilled using an organic solvent.
Their plan is to manufacture essential oils and to convert the waste products from this process into natural products which are in high demand by the flavour and fragrance industry of Europe and the USA; and create innovative new products from African and Asian plants.
Dr Ali said “Coras has been brilliant for us – it has really made us focus on our product and in which direction we want to go. The investment will be vital but the mentoring and support from Shawn – someone who has been there and understands the pitfalls – will be incredible. We are all very excited and looking forward to a bright, successful future for us all.”
Shawn said “It is great that news of the Coras award is spreading beyond its traditional boundaries – it is good for Coras and for entrepreneurs. I believe that people with ideas and energy are the backbone of our economy and we should be doing everything possible to support and develop this excellence. Competition this year was very tough so it is credit to Dr Ali and his team that they came forward with a great business and great business plan that I had the confidence to invest in and support.”