"It didn't quite end up being what I signed up for and I realised that i'd rather be behind the business driving it without the showbiz but The Apprentice proved to be a springboard for my care"
The Apprentice fuels wellness company's international expansion
Kurt Wilson started out in business with a shop called Fuel Shakes in Liverpool selling smoothies, juices and meal preps,
He opened it with his brother because as he says, “it was almost impossible for either of us to get a healthy nutritious meal that supplemented our exercise regimes.” That was back in 2012.
Since then, Kurt has substantially grown the business, now called Fuel Station, with help along the way from a successful stint on The Apprentice.
“It didn't quite end up being what I signed up for and I realised that i'd rather be behind the business driving it without the showbiz but The Apprentice proved to be a springboard for my career.”
Kurt says that looking back, Fuel Shakes was the first of it’s kind in the UK.
“We designed every shake to the needs of our customers, so if a customer wanted to lose weight, we would lower the carbohydrates and use the right types of fats in their shake or meal. At first it was pretty tough as it was such a new concept that we needed to educate the public as well as sell.”
After about a year, Fuel Shakes started attracting local celebrity clients helping to build awareness and the customer base.
“Our start was very humble and we sold our cars to fund it, but once we started to build some repeat customers we knew we needed investment.
“We started pitching to potential investors and after 12 months, we eventually raised £125,000 in early 2014 to drive the business forward.
“This was probably one of my proudest achievements as there were plenty of knocks along the way but I quickly learnt what the investors were looking for and managed to find a group interested in the health and fitness industry.”
Kurt launched the online business Fuel Station in late 2014.
“We quickly became one of the largest in our field in the UK subsequently performing well in Europe and the USA too.”
Also key to Fuel Station's development was their introduction to athletes and professional sports teams and they now look after meal plans for elite athletes including for example, Premiership footballers, world champion boxers, rugby league teams and world leading cyclists.
As an extension to the brand's range, Fuel Station are launching their own range of UK produced supplements and bars later this month...with their fan base expected to increase exponentially based on this and the multitude of celebrities and professional athletes that now endorse Fuel Station.
Kurt says the support of his family has been one of the main factors in influencing the growth of the business.
“The early days were extremely difficult as I had to basically survive on zero wages. I now have a little boy with another baby on the way, so the support from my partner Joanna has been imperative as the running of the business is never 9-5 and supporting our family is also a full time job.
“Plus, not getting the investment we needed via The Apprentice has driven me to prove Lord Sugar had missed out on a great business. Once we raised investment, a lot of the drive has been from wanting to excel and surpass investor expectations for Fuel Station...as well as my personal desire to grow the company into the biggest brand it can possibly be from humble Liverpool beginnings.”