For our series looking at the winners of the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce Best for Business awards, Charlotte Shepherd spoke to Ovo Energy founder Stephen Fitzpatrick.
THE bright sparks at Kemble-based energy company Ovo Energy are no strangers to award ceremonies, having won a clutch of accolades this year including the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce Best for Business Sustainable Business of the Year award.
"As an energy company we must be aware of the impact of our business on the environment," explained managing director Stephen Fitzpatrick, who set up the company in 2009.
Although he had no previous experience in the energy sector, Mr Fitzpatrick believed that the energy industry made life too complicated for customers. "It is our job to make it easy for the customer and we offer one price. We believe strongly in simplicity.
"Ovo means 'from an egg' in Latin and our company signifies a fresh start and new beginning in the energy sector," he said.
Within a short time, this gas and electricity provider has positioned itself as a major player in a hugely difficult market, with 70,000 customers. "This is up 75 percent from 1 July 2011," said Mr Fitzpatrick. "We are growing very fast."
As Ovo Energy increases in customer numbers, so its workforce expands and the company now employs 120 people, having started with just five.
The Chamber of Commerce recognised Ovo Energy as an environmentally responsible and socially engaged company.
The company has become synonymous with green energy, offering just two tariffs, one offering 15 percent renewable electricity and the other 100 percent renewable electricity. "The long term future has to be renewable energy and that is a big part of what we do," said Mr Fitzpatrick. "We help people to take the greener option but show that it doesn't have to cost the earth."
As part of their commitment to sustainability, Ovo Energy entered into a partnership with environmental charity Cool Earth to protect an acre of rainforest on behalf of each customer. "This has been really successful and we are helping to protect 70,000 acres of rainforest. We are of the view that is insufficient to plant new forests when rainforests are still being chopped down."
However Mr Fitzpatrick is the first to admit that sustainability within the workplace could be improved. "We can't be as green as we would like at the moment because we do not own our building. But we would eventually like to buy our own premises and have a sustainable plan," he said.
And whenever the time for new premises arrives, it looks likely Ovo Energy will not move far. "We will always have a home in the Cotswolds," said Mr Fitzpatrick.
Visit www.ovoenergy.com for more details.