Founder Reuben Chesters received Firstport’s Start It funding in 2011, to test and develop the enterprise, and later secured a Build It award in 2012.
Reuben explained: “We want to revolutionise the food system and reap the benefits of a more localised food supply chain. This is a system that empowers growers and communities by keeping money local, reducing food miles and climate change emissions, and nourishing us with fresher produce and a healthy food culture.”
Apart from the shop, Locavore provides a market garden site, cookery classes and a veg-box subscription scheme.
As well as contributing to the local food economy, Locavore addresses a range of social and health issues including teaching people how to cook healthy food cheaply and offering volunteering and employment opportunities in the shop and market garden at Neilston, outside Glasgow.
In 2015, Reuben was selected to take part in Round 2 of LaunchMe, Scotland’s social enterprise accelerator supporting ambitious social enterprise start-ups to scale and increase their social impact.
“LaunchMe allowed us to have the time and resources to develop a business plan. It was a huge jump to get from where we were to where we wanted to be. We needed more time and the investment allowed us to take on an extra member of staff. LaunchMe was also an excellent opportunity for us to get investment ready.”
Reuben's journey to investment through LaunchMe involved raising funds through crowdfunding by loan stock from 65 individual customers and one private investor, who could choose to offer anything from £250 upwards over two to 10 years at an interest rate up to 6%.
Since taking part in LaunchMe, Locavore has expanded into bigger premises in Govanhill and now claims the title of Scotland's first social enterprise supermarket, after officially opening its doors in May 2018. Locavore is now on track to become a social enterprise with a multi-million-pound turnover which will allow it to invest even more into building a better food future.