Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Turner Wyatt, CEO and Co-Founder of Upcycled Food Association, located in Greenwood Village, CO, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The Upcycled Food Association (UFA) is the only food industry association dedicated to catalyzing the upcycled economy to prevent food loss and waste across the entire supply chain. UFA fosters a vibrant community, delivers cutting-edge research, and drives critical investment capital into the industry. As the hub of the upcycled industry, UFA propels innovation by connecting surplus ingredients and byproducts to upcycled manufacturers. With a flagship third-party verified program, Upcycled Certified™, companies demonstrate how their products prevent food waste and showcase their positive impact to their buyers and consumers.

Tell us about yourself

I got started in the food waste industry at age 22 when I co-founded the beloved-but-underfunded food security organization, Denver Food Rescue. I noticed that as a food rescue organization, while we were the ones who were supposed to be preventing food waste, we had way too many bread products to effectively redistribute. So, we started upcycling our excess bread into beer or bagels into chips. It was then I had a lightbulb moment! Upcycling was the answer to food rescue nonprofits' financial woes. What started as a way to fund nonprofits turned into big business. UFA is now a community of more than 225 businesses across 20 countries, and the industry is set to double in size to more than $119 billion by 2032.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Partnerships are hard. The most successful I have ever felt is in the moments I have been able to forge partnerships between seemingly-misaligned businesses. That's what's so exciting about the upcycled product industry. Upcycling allows businesses to make more money, but it's also in alignment with all the world's most ambitious climate change mitigation goals.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Business is pretty simple. Just sell more than you buy! But then again, business requires people who are complex, emotional, and complex beings that are motivated by lots of factors outside of the business realm. The hardest thing about business is to work with people, keep them informed and motivated, and aligned with a long-term vision. Of course, people are also what make the business worth it.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

I learned from Harvard Business Review that the four most important things for a leader in a business are to create an inspiring vision, develop a system of clear analytics for the business, provide honest feedback, and foster positive morale. I think any entrepreneur can be successful if they follow this wise advice closely.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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