Age: 23

Back in 2015, Ellie Sinclair had a novel idea. She decided to start an experiment and grow chillies, something not very common in the Aberdeenshire countryside.

By utilising the benefits of the wider family business as an agricultural contractor and waste haulier, Ellie was able to use a proportion of the power generated from the onsite Anaerobic Digester to heat a greenhouse where she grew a range of tomatoes and chillies.

From these tomatoes and chillies Ellie has created VegCø, a fantastic mini enterprise where she created a core range of sauces and spice mix pots.

“As a family business, we wanted to put the power from our anaerobic digester to good use and diversify slightly from our agricultural background. I love food and really wanted to work in the food and drink industry so, with my experience of the family business and a degree in Business and Media Studies, I was able to develop a new brand and product range.”

VegCø is Ellie’s very own branch of the family business, but that doesn’t mean she gets to neglect other areas.

“I absolutely love what I’m doing, but with the experience I have built around other areas of the business, I still need to split my team across the other parts, for example the haulage side of the business.”

Ellie’s brand is fresh and colourful, very much like the products she has created. From hot and sticky pineapple sauce to spicy and sweet chilli jam, Ellie’s entrepreneurial spark has seen her purchase a van and build a network of customers. Best of all though, her success is driven by green energy! For Ellie, green energy and delicious food go hand in hand.

“I love being part of something new and exciting. Believe it or not, this experiment was never actually meant to get this far. I just started growing chillies and tomatoes in a greenhouse!

“I am so proud of where we have got to and I love having the ability to tell the story behind my company, encapsulating renewable energy as well as our provenance.”

Ellie may only be 23 herself but she is testament to the fact that with hard work and dedication, the sky really is the limit. She also believes it is hugely important for young people get involved within the food industry as it’s an industry that will constantly have demand.

“The food and drink industry in Scotland is incredibly creative with thousands of hidden gems of small business just waiting to be started. The pride and passion that local food producers have for their products is unbelievable and I think we definitely need more young people in the industry.”

Ellie’s #ScotFoodGoals are to further develop VegCø to the point where she can look at expansion within the greenhouse as well as in the production kitchen where she creates her amazing products. She would also like to have the ability and income to be able to employ some staff.