What started as a hobby has turned into a labour of love for the owner of Dorset Sea Salt Co.

It was just one year ago that founder Jethro Tennant, 25, made the leap of faith after learning about the historic and cultural significance of salt production in the county. But is is already celebrating his first accolade.

From the crashing waves of the Jurassic Coast to the bright spotlight of the London stage, Dorset Sea Salt Co. has been named The Seed Fund 2018 champion, supported by The Collaborators and Great Taste.

Jethro will now embark on a year-long journey of business development and mentoring with the philanthropic project’s hand-picked industry experts, as he aims to transform his big idea into big business.

Coming just 12 months after Jethro transformed from humble hobby to fledgling producer, with the help of mentorship and a small loan from The Prince's Trust, the prize completes a remarkable year for this ambitious south west start-up.

Beginning when Jethro discovered the historic and cultural significance of salt production in Dorset, followed shortly after by the first buckets of water being lugged up the beach by hand, Dorset Sea Salt Co. has restored an ancient tradition in the county, hand-harvesting exceptional sea salt on the Jurassic Coast.

There are now eight flavours available, including Celery, Chilli and Beetroot & Apple.

Jethro collected his trophy on Sunday. September 2 at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner, held at the InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel, coming out on top among a shortlist including Green Lady sparkling tea from London, Made for Drink bar snacks from Berkshire, Bristol-based Norty Puds and Cornwall’s Rathlee Distilling Company.

Applauded for his progress and commitment throughout The Seed Fund Academy’s summer programme of sessions on funding, finance, law, distribution, branding, PR, marketing and more, Jethro was named The Seed Fund’s sixth champion in front of the great and good of the food and drink industry.

“It’s been an incredible journey from day one with The Seed Fund and I’m truly honoured to have taken the top prize among such a great group of start-ups," says Jethro.

"Alongside the support and guidance of The Seed Fund’s mentors, the ideas, challenges and experiences of other Academy members has been both invaluable and inspiring. I can’t quite believe how far I’ve come with my geeky hobby over the past 12 months, but it just goes to show what can be achieved with a good idea and the right people around you.

"I’ve got big plans for Dorset Sea Salt Co., from expanding distribution in the short-term to building an education centre further down the line, and I know that this prize will bring all of those ambitions that bit closer.

"I’d like to say a big thanks to The Seed Fund, The Collaborators, Great Taste and all the mentors for their support. Year two is set to be another big one!”

Jayne Noblet of The Collaborators, founder of The Seed Fund, adds: “Hats off to Jethro for his sterling work throughout The Seed Fund Academy this year. Our Class of 2018 was outstanding, so our finalists did extremely well to reach this stage, but Dorset Sea Salt Co. stood out and made some great progress over the summer, really encapsulating what The Seed Fund is all about.

"Jethro has done so much in his first year of business, creating a superb product, establishing a strong brand and putting the foundations in place to build the business, and I know our mentors see huge potential in this start-up, which they will do all they can to help it realise.

"I hope Jethro enjoyed his moment on the Great Taste stage tonight alongside some of the UK and Ireland’s most respected producers – straight back to work tomorrow!”

W: dorsetseasalt.co.uk

E: info@dorsetseasalt.co.uk

T: 01305 823909