Two north-east men with a love of coffee have taken their passion and turned it into a business as they open their first outlet at an Aberdeen university.
Poco, the concept of Robert Gordon University (RGU) alumni Ross McLean and David Porteous, has been launched at the university’s Garthdee campus in partnership with Aramark.
Originally set up under the name Coffee Scotland, the business has developed significantly since the team took part in the RGU Accelerator.
This supports entrepreneurial teams with the aim of helping the region’s entrepreneurs and innovators to create new businesses in a number of industries.
Poco is working with a core of 30 independent coffee roasters and the opening of the RGU outlet marks a significant step in the development of the business. Co-founder Ross said: “We opened our new outlet just a couple of weeks ago and this partnership with Aramark provides us with our maiden high-street style coffee shop, where we will be selling produce from a host of smaller, independent roasters on a rotating basis.
“We originally began the business with our subscription service, where we get all our different roasters together and we send out bags of their product to our subscribers.
“This allows our customers the opportunity to explore and taste all these amazing new coffees.
“Having now opened at RGU, we are really looking to expand the business to business offering, whereby we run similar style pop-up shops within organisations, and we are in talks with a few interested parties.”
The pair said the experience on the RGU Accelerator not only provided the team at Poco with £10,000 funding to kick-start the business, but also provided a range of mentor-led development opportunities and workshops to take the business to the next level.
Mr McLean added: “What we took most from the experience on the RGU Accelerator and what springs immediately to the forefront of my mind, is the people. You build a phenomenal network when you go through an accelerator like that. Everybody is going through very similar journeys.
“Throughout the course of the programme you get partnered up with different inspiring mentors and meet new exciting people. Our business would certainly not be where it is now had we not been involved.”
Poco has also recently appointed a new member of staff to support growth.
Mr McLean said: “Prior to the opening of the RGU outlet we appointed our newest member of staff, Sammy Johnstone, who has been taken on to support in many areas of the business, but will predominantly focus on the barista and training side of things.
“It’s a very exciting time for Poco and we’re just getting started.”