Louise Grubb is awarded the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award’
The serial entrepreneur shares her career journey on the ‘The Science of Business’ podcast for International Women’s Day
Today on International Women’s Day serial entrepreneur Louise Grubb shares her own career journey on the podcast ‘The Science of Business’ following her being awarded the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award at the Waterford Chamber annual business awards which took place last Friday, March 4th 2022.
Louise has an incredible track record of business success. Driven by innovation, Louise is currently working on her third successful start-up within the science and pharma sector.
The Waterford native began by establishing ‘NutriScience’ in 1999 which was acquired by animal health company, SwedenCare company in 2009, following which she went on to set up her second start-up, ‘Q1 Scientific’. The first Irish company to specialise in the provision of a stability storage service, meeting the highest international standards, as required for the highly regulated pharma, medical devices and bio-sciences industries. Today Q1 Scientific can count some of the world’s top pharma companies as clients. Her latest business venture is TriviumVet’, which Louise co-founded with Tom Brennan in 2018. TriviumVet specialises in the development of drugs and other medical devices to treat chronic diseases in companion animals. The company has already developed a treatment for gastric ulcers in dogs which is currently making its way through the regulatory process, and Louise shared in the podcast interview that TriviumVet is “very close to making a breakthrough” in the development of a completely novel drug to treat a particular type of cardiac disease in cats and in dogs.
Discussing being a female in business in terms of International Women’s Day, Louise says, “It’s the clichéd saying, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see.’ and this is so true to form. You need to see women doing things and for more women to do things. And while I wouldn’t like to think in any way being a woman has hampered me in what I’ve done, there aren’t that many of ‘me’. So you have to ask, why is that? There has to be some sort of fundamental reason why more women don’t go into business, and then don’t scale their businesses, because we do see a lot of women in start-ups but they don’t scale up. But also then in other areas in terms of professional life or whatever, we are still not seeing women at the very top.”
When asked why it is that we don’t see women rise to the top more, “I think it’s potentially the numbers but I also think it’s not dreaming big enough.”
Speaking of her own career, Louise discusses her path from when she was a Dietician in Crumlin Children’s Hospital with a yearning to do something in the commercial end of science. How growing up working in her father’s shop in Waterford City gave her a lifelong taste for sales and she discusses how she became becoming interested in nutraceuticals through working in Cow & Gate, and how this led her and her husband John, a vet, to put together a clinical study to see if these products could be used for animals, which was the start of what would become ‘Nutriscience’, a company she started in Waterford in 1999. Louise delves into how rewarding it was to be involved in the whole area of veterinary therapeutics which “has exploded” in recent years.
Speaking of bringing this background to her business ‘TriviumVet’ and how that market has grown so much in terms of care for companion animals; Louise says, “We use the expression, ‘The dog in the yard outside’, ‘the dog in the house’, and now ‘the dog in the bed’. It is that humanisation of dogs has happened over the past number of years.”
Speaking of the hugely successful ‘Q1 Scientific’ who was also awarded the ‘Company of the Year’ award at the Waterford Chamber Business Awards 2021. Louise says, “If you didn’t have a need for stability storage, you probably wouldn’t have known what Q1 Scientific did; that is until the Pandemic came along and offered Q1 Scientific the opportunity to talk about the expertise that they offer around vaccine storage. This delivered a few moments in the spotlight as stability storage for vaccines became very attractive.”
Acknowledging that as well as being good at identifying gaps in the market (such as stability storage, or supplements for animals) Louise is also good at building a good team and she says that “I have been very lucky with the fantastic scientists I have been able to hire in Waterford.”
Discussing keeping staff during what has been dubbed the year of ‘The Great Resignation’ Louise says she has always offered flexible working terms. “We are competing with the big pharma companies for our staff, so we can’t compete monetarily. Certainly, when I started Q1 Scientific, I really needed some top-class quality people and I was really lucky that I found several of them that were willing to work part-time for me, so I was able to get the best in the business by offering some flexibility. It’s the same with TriviumVet, we have a lot of scientists and really clever people. Everybody has a little bit of ownership, everybody participates, and hopefully, it’s a real team effort.”
Louise goes on to say that she has to be even more flexible now with remote working and that she has given people that opportunity but says, “There is nothing more valuable than getting the team together face to face. I would be concerned that bigger businesses will lose their culture and the ability to onboard new talent if people can’t be together.”
Louise also discusses how she has moved back to international travel for business post-Covid, her vision for Waterford and why the South East Technological University will be a great thing for the region.
‘The Science of Business’ podcast series is filled with high-quality episodes offering valuable business insights, career stories and start-up successes from some of Ireland’s top entrepreneurs and business people. The Science of Business podcast episodes are now available to listen to at https://scienceofbusiness.ie/ and wherever you get your podcasts.