A microbiome-supporting food supplement and market-leading probiotic, Symprove has been linked with promoting a range of health benefits, from aiding digestion, preventing IBS and even treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
The company traces its roots back to 1976 when former military nurse Barry Smith from Farnham, Surrey, left the army and started farming. Unhappy with existing animal feed for his beef cattle, he developed his own feed based on germinated grains, a form of probiotic.
After seeing the positive impact it had on his animals, Barry realised the formula could improve the wellbeing of humans too and the seeds of Symprove were sown. In 2010 Symprove was launched as a food supplement and made available to the public for the first time.
We spoke to Symprove’s founder about his unusual journey to become a wellness pioneer, the business lessons he wished he’d known when he began and his prediction for the next big thing to disrupt the industry.
What is Symprove’s driving motivation?
Our mission is to be the world’s best loved microbiome therapeutic. Our vision is that Symprove will be the most customer-centric microbiome therapeutic company, building a place where people can discover, learn and buy online.
What inspired the concept of your brand?
Symprove is derived from sym
as in symbiotic, “to live in harmony with”, and prove,
as in prove your technology and work from a position of efficacy.
Tell us about the moment you knew your business had the power to change lives?
When word of mouth discovery kicked in, with our clients saying how Symprove had changed their lives.
What are the greatest challenges and opportunities within your sector?
The challenges are misinformation and overclaiming within the industry. The opportunity, if you stand on efficacy, is to find a new way forward for the health and wellbeing of the whole community. There is a real potential to be able to reduce the pressure on the health services as people take on the responsibilities of their own wellbeing.
What do you think is the next big thing in the world of wellness?
Integrated health with the public leading the way for a clean and sustainable way to maintain themselves. The “well” are our fastest growing group of clients. We can make well people “weller” by stimulating the microbiome.
What is your mantra in life?
Never, never give up. If a person or organisation says “you can’t do that” and if you know that you can and that you should, keep going until you win.
Tell us about a previous job you’ve had that taught you the most?
My first job was as a military nurse in the RAMC. I became a nursing and first aid instructor, before moving into agriculture and then bio-tech. My baseline training has always stayed with me. There is nothing so rewarding as being able to help others. Clearly this reward comes every day with Symprove.
What do you know now about running your business that you wish you had known at the start?
If it is a big idea, (sometimes you know and in our case I couldn’t tell until after our first clinical study outcome) you have to be aware that you need help. Once you have passed a certain point (in our case first stage R&D) you need to pull in capability and capacity. In short: people and money.
What advice would you share with anyone wanting to launch a new business?
If your idea and its potential keeps you awake at night and it develops into a passion, as Symprove has for me, just keep going until you find a way. In our case, if the first clinical outcome had been negative it would have been game over. But once you are on the right track just knuckle down and build. In my view, if you have efficacy first, the rest will follow.
What are you most excited to discover at this year's Balance Festival?
Meeting our clients that are delighted they are with Symprove and meeting new customers that want to know more. It’s always so rewarding.
Meet the team and try Symprove
for yourself at Balance Festival 2020