DuelFuel wanted to rapidly progress their innovation project, from test marketing through to product delivery, all within a competitive market.
Expert support within the innovation programme, including specific webinars, mentoring and grant guidance, all led to a successful grant application and route to market plan.
Designed to fuel peak performance before and after exercising, DuelFuel’s mouthwatering PERFORMANCE Flapjacks help provide the energy we need to fuel us through our exercise or workout, whilst their delicious RECOVERY Brownies and Cake Slices are formulated to optimise recovery after exercise and support immune health throughout.
The DuelFuel story began in 2013, when founder Tim Davies, rediscovered his love for fitness. Like many of us, Tim has an on-off relationship with exercise. He explains “I’m a regular guy and after a couple of pretty unhealthy years, I knew I needed to get fit again. I ended up going extreme and joined a CrossFit gym, which I absolutely love. Over the following two years I got fit, so fit in fact I started climbing mountains.”
Tim always knew that nutrition played a big part in fitness, but he admitted that he didn’t necessarily understand it. “I was going to the gym for an evening session, having not eaten since midday. I realised I was not getting as much benefit as I could from my exercise. I knew enough about nutrition to know that our bodies need different fuels before and after we exercise; so I wanted to find something convenient I could eat on the way to the gym that would top-up my energy levels and something to help me recover afterwards. But I simply couldn’t find it.”
This is when Tim’s innovative idea for DuelFuel was born. “I thought to myself ‘why isn’t there a solution to this problem?’ I spoke to a lot of people who also do exercise, but are not necessarily on a diet or nutrition plan and they were all saying the same thing ’I think I could do better, but I don’t know what it is’. So I decided to give it a go.”
Tim knew he couldn’t do this alone. He had the great idea and drive to get things started, but he needed access to nutritional expertise. This is where Mike Naylor came in – one of the UK’s most experienced elite sports performance nutritionists. Their collaboration started in April 2020, and since then they have drawn from Mike’s experience in the elite performance nutrition world and applied it to Tim’s experience of every-day life, particularly around the frustrations of not knowing what to eat before and after activity and exercise to get the maximum enjoyment and benefit from it.
“I thought, whether it’s win, lose, or draw with the grant, there’s so much benefit from engaging with OxLEP.”
“As a new enterprise I knew I needed support from like-minded people in business who could help me. Setting up a new business from scratch was new to me. I could see the benefit of and wanted to connect with people who had experience of doing so.”
Following research and phone calls Tim was signposted to the OxLEP Business team. He expressed, “From the first call, I got on famously with them. I then attended a webinar explaining the Innovation Go Create grant process. I absolutely loved it. It was so down to earth and they offered such great advice. So we decided to go for it! I thought, whether it’s win, lose, or draw with the grant, there’s so much benefit from engaging with OxLEP.”
“These are people with experience, sitting at a distance and marking our homework, in this case our business plan. Why wouldn’t you accept their offer of support? We needed impartial business brains to look under the bonnet of our new venture and give us honest, open advice.”
The OxLEP business team offered one to one support to Tim and Mike during their grant application. Tim explained that this support not only guided DuelFuel to a successful grant outcome, but along the way it also highlighted a few areas in their overall business plan that needed improvement. “If we hadn’t spoken to OxLEP I wouldn’t have had those experienced eyes on the plan. I made a conscious decision to grow and nurture those relationships with the OxLEP team, because they’ve got the experience I can benefit from.”
“The grant funding we received through the Innovation Support for Business programme enabled us to focus on our brand and website. We engaged with a designer who would have been out of our reach from a financial standpoint. It meant we could aim a little bit higher. We now have an incredible brand that we are proud of and it meant that we could go to market with more confidence.”
Alongside the grant funding support, Tim also joined the Peer Networks programme, which he described as invaluable. “I met people in similar situations to mine and we shared successes, failures, questions and queries. The vibe there was that we are all in this together. We may all have been paddling our own boat, but we were all on the same river. It was a great experience. I’m still in touch with some members of our cohort, one of which helped us recruit our first full time employee Robert, via the Kickstart scheme. And Robert is just super, a great addition to the DuelFuel team. There were so many positives that came out of the peer-to-peer networking, I’d highly recommend it.”
DuelFuel’s journey over the past two years has been a whirlwind and incredibly exciting, and really this is just the beginning.