New Business Competition winners find the recipe for success

Two of southern Oxfordshire’s brightest new businesses are celebrating a high profile competition win.

The judges for the Southern Oxfordshire New Business Competition (SONBC) chose Henley-based Indian Yoghurt Drinks makers, Lashbrook Lassis, as their winners, with Wallingford independent coffee house and tea room, Bean & Brew, as runners up.

It’s the fifth SONBC, which is run every two years by landlords Jennings to recognise the area’s outstanding new businesses, and to identify ways of supporting them to their next stage with the help of the competition’s sponsors.

SONBC winners, Lashbrook Lassis (, was set up by former teachers Matthew Hulett and Jo Howson, who came across the traditional lassi drink on a cycling trip to India.

They started making the drinks at home on Lashbrook Farm and have since set up their own manufacturing base at a farm in Nettlebed near Henley.

Now they’re selling the blend of creamy yoghurt, fruit, nuts and spices, in different varieties at local farmers markets.

Jo said: “It’s been a lot of hard work but we’re really excited to be manufacturing Lashbrook Lassis at our new premises in Nettlebed. We want to start a ‘lassi culture’ in this country, where people are just as enthusiastic about their lassis as they are about their curries!”

Runners-up, Anna Kypri and Tammy Robertson, opened Bean & Brew ( in June 2014.

Set over two floors inside a beautiful listed building in the heart of historic Wallingford, the coffee house and tea room has quickly built a reputation as a great place to stop for a quick drink, grab some lunch, meet with friends and family, or set up office for the day.

Bean & Brew also hosts a number of local community groups and events in its function rooms, and showcases work by talented artists.

Donna McKnight, Jennings’ Hampden House Centre Manager, said they are delighted for all the finalists.

She added: “Both businesses deserve all the credit they get, especially as the field of SONBC entrants this year was incredibly strong and diverse.

“We recognise how hard it is to set up a new business and it’s been so encouraging to have heard so many success stories while we’ve been running the competition.

“Well done to everyone involved!”

The winners, runners up and finalists will all receive business support from a package offered by SONBC sponsors which best suits the stage they’re at.

The 2015 sponsors were Jennings, business accountants Clark Howes Group, web design and Internet services specialists OxLink, business communications specialists PRBI, networking group The Late Breakfast, and South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils.