Starting up a business as a single mum and then beating cancer is all in a day’s work for Jodi Huggett of Binbrook.
Now, Jodi has been nominated as a finalist for Start-up of the Year and Women in Business Award in a national awards ceremony.
Jodi, who was educated at Caistor Yarborough School, grew up in Thoresway and was a stay-at-home mum to two girls Olivia and Harriet.
After her divorce, the single mum worked as a sales rep for another business, travelling more than 1,000 miles a week.
But she wanted something less “gruelling” so she joined a local sole-trader operation called 4Solar, which installed solar panels.
Jodi, Robin Barrett and its owner Lee Sutton realised there was a gap in the market to create a device that used the energy generated on the roofs. Thus, the immerSUN device was created and the current 4Eco business was launched in 2012. It started off with just three people but now it employs 23.
“Ninety-five per cent of staff who joined us were unemployed. It is fantastic for a small village. We employ a lot of people from the village and surrounding villages” she said.
Within its first 18 months, 4Eco has enjoyed sales of over £2.8million and the company has grown 50 per cent this year. It has invested £500,000 in technology research and is only one of three companies in the UK manufacturing what it does. We have also won several eco innovation awards already.
“We are the first company to develop a product which automates the energy that you are generating - putting something massively technological into something the homeowner can easily understand,” Jodi explained.
But there have been other challenges too, such as beating cancer. Last year, Jodi was treated with neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) a rare cancer, which was eventually beaten.
“I was really lucky to have built a fantastic team around me. They kept the stresses of the business away from me. The whole Ecoteam rallied around me,” Jodi said.
Now, Jodi has received a second all-clear and 4Eco is taking its product global.
“We work with the biggest electrical wholesalers the UK. There is no limit for us. This is new technology. It’s cutting edge, there is so much growth. We have taken on two new people this week,” Jodi said.
Jodi, who lives in Nettleton, said it is “phenomenal” what has been achieved in two years.
“You can be a single mum and be successful. You can beat cancer, there are no limits if you keep your head down, keep moving forward and never loose focus of the what your customers want.” And now in the clear, with a new husband, life is just fantastic!
The Startups AwardS 2014
The awards are run by simply business, the insurance company and startups.co.uk, the website for start-ups and small businesses.
The awards recognise the successes of Britain’s newest businesses which have been trading for no more than three years.
They also include a People’s Champion Award chosen by readers of Startups.co.uk, of which 4Eco is also a finalist.
4Eco is one of 35 companies that have been shortlisted for the awards. Now, the company is hoping to win one of 15 trophies up for grabs at the November 27 awards in Kensington.