"The history of the city is one of its great attractions. Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland but sometimes I think we’ve been so busy, we haven’t really appreciated that wonderful sense of living and working on streets where men and women were walking more than a thousand years ago."
As founder and CEO of Q1 Scientific, 2016 EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist LOUISE GRUBB keeps an eye to the future but has a healthy respect for what went before her and is proud of her family’s connection to the commercial life of the ancient city of Waterford:
“My family has been in business in Waterford for more than a century. People like my father and grandfather were very innovative and enterprising for their time. Dad was full of ideas. He was never afraid to try something and I like to think some of that has rubbed off on me.” - Louise Grubb - Managing Director of NutriScience & Q1 Scientific
Following her graduation from TCD, Louise worked as a dietician at Crumlin Children’s Hospital and subsequently as a Senior Manager with Cow & Gate Nutrition. And when she had an idea for a business of her own, Waterford emerged as the place to put it into practice. Established in 1999 to develop and manufacture nutraceuticals for animal health, NutriScience grew to become one of the city’s flagship small industries. Although delighted with the company’s success, Louise is not a woman who rests on her laurels and when an opportunity arose in 2009, NutriScience was sold to the Belgian animal healthcare company, Ecuphar.
“We had built NutriScience up to a reasonable sized business and we were selling in fifteen different countries when I was approached by Ecuphar. They felt our range would be complementary to theirs and also wanted to continue manufacturing in Waterford. As it happens, it was very good timing for me because I had some ideas for a new business and it gave me the freedom to do that.”
Well Placed for Success
That business was Q1 Scientific. Located at a purpose built facility in Waterford’s Westside Business Park, Q1 Scientific offers an outsourcing option of environmentally controlled stability storage services for the Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and Bio-Sciences industry in Ireland and overseas. Just four years in operation and already counting several blue-chip multinational pharmaceutical companies among its clients, Louise never doubted that her latest enterprise could prosper in her own place:
“People say to me: why Waterford? But I say to anybody who’s starting up a business is why here? The challenges here are no different than any other location. NutriScience exported to about fifteen countries and there were never any impediments to exporting from Waterford. With Q1 Scientific, we have the immediate advantage of being part of a thriving cluster of brand leading pharmaceutical companies in the Waterford and South East Region. We have same day delivery from Waterford to anywhere else in Ireland and now we’re internationalising the business, we’re looking at offering the same service across Europe and we don’t see the barriers at all.” - Louise Grubb - Managing Director of NutriScience & Q1 Scientific
Louise’s business acumen and achievements have been recognised with an array of prestigious business and innovation awards including being shortlisted for the 2016 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. “As a finalist, you enter into a group – the alumni – with all the former finalists and what that’s given me is access to is a group of people where there’s absolutely no negativity, it’s just all ‘can do’. I was in Boston with the group and we got lectures from the CEO of Trip Advisor, the CEO of Hubspot. We went to Harvard, we went to MIT. And all the time, there was this really stimulating conversation. No matter what area of business you’re in, there was this total positivity of growing business, how do we make it bigger and better.”
Louise lives near Tramore County Waterford with her husband, John, and their daughters, Steffi (18) and Alex (20).
“We have the best of all worlds, really – the city, the mountains and the sea. When I leave home in the morning I can be in work in ten minutes. There’s not a single traffic light along the way. More than anything, it’s what I love about this place. There’s a real buzz in the commercial life of the city and a fantastic social scene but in fifteen or twenty minutes you can be on the beach or standing in the foothills of the beautiful Comeragh Mountains. I can’t tell you what that means to me.” - Louise Grubb - Managing Director of NutriScience & Q1 Scientific
Pride of Place
Along with enjoying the natural amenities of the city’s hinterland, Louise and her family also take an active part in the city’s cultural and sporting life and Louise is keen to recommend her native place to prospective new arrivals:
“Waterford has a very beautiful hinterland but it is also a very sophisticated city. My kids surf, ride horses and play tennis but they also attended the music school at WIT and took drama classes at Little Red Kettle, one of Ireland’s leading children’s theatre companies. For my own part, I relax with a walk on the beach or a game of tennis but I also love the theatre and the cinema. So there’s a lot to do – the only thing you’ll be short of is time!”
If Louise Grubb is justly proud of her achievements in business, she is equally proud of her city and its hinterland:
“I’m a board member of the Viking Trust which co-ordinates all the activities in our cultural and heritage quarter and a visit to the Viking Triangle is always a part of the tour when I entertain visitors from overseas. Then I’ll bring them to Dunmore East where they get to eat fish they may have watched being unloaded in the harbour an hour before. And I’ll finish up in Tramore with a walk on the beach. I love Waterford. My eldest daughter, Alex, is three years in college now but still comes back nearly every weekend. Steffi is eighteen. And when I was eighteen, I thought I’d never get away from Tramore, it was a really tiny little place. Everyone knew everyone and Waterford is the same – it’s like a parish. And then you come back with your own kids and you’re delighted that everyone knows everyone – you know it’s a real positive thing."