Innocent drinks boss awarded Honorary Doctorate from Huddersfield University
Nov 19 2010 Huddersfield Daily Examiner
SMOOTHIE drinks boss Richard Reed has seen the fruits of his labour awarded with an Honorary Doctorate from Huddersfield University.
Richard, from Kirkheaton, founded the Innocent drinks brand with two university friends back in 1999 and the company now boasts a £100m turnover.
Yesterday, the former Batley Grammar School pupil was at the university to receive the honorary title awarded to him for being an inspiring and successful entrepreneur.
He told the Examiner: “It’s such an honour because it’s my home town and it’s a great uni that in particular has a really good business school which encourages entrepreneurship.
“It definitely strikes me as a uni which has a lot of ambition. I think raising the university fees is going to be a real challenge for some universities but I think strong universities like Huddersfield will be fine.”
Richard said he hoped to inspire other people aspiring to start their own business.
He said: “What worked for us is that we had a small team of people who were all behind the product and its ideals.
“You’ve got to have a product that’s better than the competition and the thing I’ve found is that you create more value by doing the right thing in business.
“Our mission is to bring healthy food and drink to as many people as possible and about getting more natural health food out to a larger geographic.
“If we’re about anything it’s about making it easy for people to eat healthily.”
This month the company launched its Big Knit campaign drive to raise money for Age UK. People all over the country have knitted little woollen hats to top Innocent smoothie bottles – with 25p going directly to the charity.
Richard said: “The first year we did it people knitted 3,000 woolly hats for us and this year it’s amazing we have 620,000 hand-knitted hats.
“The money goes towards keeping the elderly warm in winter which is absolutely down to the people who made the hats.
“Lots of people in Huddersfield have taken part – my mum included. She’s really into knitting and she’s made thousands.”
Richard was among 4,000 graduates who received awards during 15 ceremonies at the university this week.
International organist David Titterington was also recognised as an Honorary Doctor of the university.
After studying at Oxford, Paris and Prague, Mr Titterington made his debut as a solo organist at the Royal Festival Hall in 1986.
He went on to become a leading organ player and well-known consultant on the construction and restoration of the instrument.
David was appointed Professor of Organ at the Royal Academy of Music in 1991.
Retiring professors have also been recognised this week. The title of Emeritus Professor was awarded to healthcare academic Professor Peter Bradshaw and politics lecturer Professor Valerie Bryson, as well as the university’s former Head of Computing and Library Services, Professor John Lancaster.