e always detested the computer room at school. “If anyone had told me that 90 per cent of starting a company is sitting in front of a laptop composing emails,” says Keiran Whitaker, “I’d never have done it.” He loves the great outdoors and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. Which probably helps when it comes to farming insects at Entocycle, where he is founder and sustainability leader.
His father is from Chile, his mother from the midlands, and he was brought up in south London. “My Mum was a left-wing hippy,” he says. “We always composted. And switched lights off.” He reckons that at Entocycle 80 per cent of the 20-strong team cycle to work and nobody drives.
Whitaker has tried his hand at different jobs since he was 12 years old, graduating from a paper round to a stint as a librarian and putting in shifts at the Mini plant while at university. His gap year took him across South America, where he spent a month in the Ecuadoran rainforest working on a reforestation project. To cap off his studies in environmental design at Oxford Brookes University, he wrote a dissertation completely blowing a hole through conventional wisdom, titled “Money Really Does Grow on Trees” – making the case that local authorities should be investing in green spaces and biodiversity.