London-based Quarter, a lower alcohol spirits brand, is among 12 businesses announced today as Ambassadors of the Start Up Loans programme, part of the British Business Bank.
As seen on Dragon’s Den, best friends of 22 years Fabian Clark and Rohan Radhakrishnan co-founded the business in 2021 after seeing a gap in the existing all-or-nothing booze market. The low-alcohol, low-calorie gin product gives customers a great tasting alternative, without the possible side effects of the higher-alcohol options.
No/low alcohol is a global growth market. According to IWSR the pace of growth of the no/low-alcohol category is expected to surpass that of the last four years, with forecast volume compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of +7%, 2022-26, compared to +5%, 2018-22. In 2022, no/low alcohol drinks was an $11bn market.
By comparison, Straits Research has found the global alcoholic beverage market grew at a CAGR of 2.5% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
The annual Start Up Loans Ambassadors programme, now in its eighth year, celebrates exceptional business owners who have launched an enterprise using funding from the government-backed scheme. Fabian and Rohan of Quarter have been selected as they embody the can-do mindset it takes to make a start-up successful.
The pair took out a loan of £10,000 via Virgin Startups in 2022 to help them grow their business and fulfil their increasing number of orders.
Quarter Co-founder, Fabian Clark said: “My co-founder, Rohan, and I have been best friends for over two decades, and it’s always been our dream to launch a business together. We identified a gap in the traditional spirits market and realised we had the opportunity to create a product that offers consumers the freedom to drink, without the negative impact of high-alcohol consumption. That’s how Quarter was born, and our initial drink ‘Quarter Gin’ was created.
We took out a Start Up Loan back in 2022, and it’s been instrumental in helping us to grow our business and fulfil our orders. Since taking out the loan we’ve been able to expand our product range and introduce our new ‘Quarter Tequila’ drink. Rohan and I are delighted to be Ambassadors for the Start Up Loans programme and we hope that we’ll be able to inspire other aspiring business owners to follow their passions and keep persevering with their business, even if there are challenges along the way!”
Drawn from each of the UK’s 12 Nations and regions, the 2023 Start Up Loans Ambassadors reflect the broad diversity of sectors and business owners supported via the programme. More details of the businesses selected from each of England’s nine regions and three Devolved Nations can be found further below.
Fabian and Rohan, along with the other 2023 Ambassadors will be introduced at a launch event in central London that kick-starts a year-long programme which will see the new Ambassadors take part in a series of local and national activities, helping inspire and encourage aspiring start-up founders to take the leap into business ownership.
Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Small Business Lending, British Business Bank said: “It is our pleasure to be able to support businesses like Quarter, through the Start Up Loans programme. It has been a challenging year for small businesses, given the tough economic climate, and so we are delighted to be able to help more start and succeed. It is inspiring to hear stories like Fabian and Rohan’s, to learn about their continued grit and determination and how their loan has helped them to expand their enterprise. We are delighted to have them both as Ambassadors for 2023/24 and very much hope their story will inspire other aspiring business owners.”
Since its inception in 2012, the Start Up Loan programme has delivered more than 105,000 loans to business owners across the UK, amounting to more than £1bn of funding. Of those loans, 40% of loan recipients have been women and 20% from Black, Asian, and Other Minority Ethnic backgrounds (not including White Minorities).