Levi's not sub standard, he's the real deal

reggaesub.jpgI like Levi Roots, the founder of Reggae Reggae Sauce who rose to fame on Dragons’ Den when he serenaded his way to securing £50,000 investment from Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh.His sauce has become a staple product on supermarket shelves, initially selling out within days when Sainsbury’s became the first to stock it. He’s since launched several variations to the range, released his first cookbook last month and has opened the ‘Papine Jerk Centre’ in Battersea.You might have seen Reggae Reggae Sauce’s latest coup, a partnership with sandwich franchise Subway, advertised on TV over the weekend in what looks a brilliant branding deal. The image above is currently a blanket homepage overlay ad on www.subway.co.uk!Despite this, there still seems to be a degree of snobbery towards Levi. I’ve heard various people comment that he’s not a ‘proper entrepreneur’, attributing the success of Reggae Reggae to its investors and not to Levi who just ‘got lucky’.Now I’m sure Levi wouldn’t have got the company to where it is without the expertise, contacts and, of course, funds of the dragons, but to belittle Levi’s contribution isn’t on. After all, it’s his creation and the brand revolves around him. That said, Levi is more than a figurehead and has clear views on how the company should progress and its ethics.He gave all proceeds from the release of the Reggae Reggae Sauce Song to Comic Relief, dedicates a percentage of profits from the Papine Jerk Centre to sickle cell research and pledges that anyone from the local community can visit the takeaway and receive a meal, no matter how small or basic, with what they can afford to pay.Levi is also working hard to promote enterprise in Brixton, taking part in numerous schemes and frequently giving talks on the value of entrepreneurship to the borough’s disadvantaged youth. He's also used his fame on a national level, supporting last year’s Startups Awards as a judge and personally congratulating the winners.Levi’s ability to twin social enterprise ethics with the hard business world of supermarkets and global franchising partnerships deserves recognition, not cynicism. Why in this country do we seem to begrudge people who get a break? After all, you make your own luck, don’t you?

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