YOU will struggle to find a business more committed to growth than York-based

Richard Fenwick’s business cultivates plants in test tubes for use in education or to help save rare species from becoming endangered or extinct.

It designs and manufactures the test tube product at its York base where the current range includes kits for growing potato, tomato, sweet pea, sweetcorn, garden pea, and sunflower varieties.

Starting this year, the products have been available worldwide with sales coming in from France, Turkey, USA and Australia.

Richard’s passion for his subject led him to join the STEM Ambassador programme which sees him promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics in schools, colleges and science clubs. At these events he shows students how to grow a plant in a test tube. The students are encouraged to take their tube home or back to their school and over a few days new leaves, stems and roots will develop. Richard has added a ‘growing scale’ to each of the tubes which allows the students to measure the stems, leaves and roots as they develop. Once mature, the test tube plant can be grown outside, potted into compost and developed into a full-size plant. Richard has worked with 50 schools and STEM clubs across the UK. This educational work is 'not for profit' but acts as a marketing tool for’s online shop.

This year the business which is vying for the Business Innovation title in The Press Business Awards was invited to attend events such as Springtime Live, York Festival of Ideas, Countryside Days, Great Yorkshire Show, The Lincolnshire Show and Countryside Live which involved interacting with more than 3,500 people.

Richard has ambitious growth plans for the business. Future expansion will include employing staff across the UK in 12 STEM sectors which would expand the firm’s engagement with schools. He also plans to add new plant species to the current range of online kits to broaden the choice and increase the seasonality, and the business will continue to offer micropropagation consultancy to enable more plant species to be saved.