Serial entrepreneur’s backing of mum’s ‘adventure venture’ sparks global success

Emma de Vere Hunt, 43, was so dismayed by the lack of energetic play activities for her son Edward that she created her own solution called Battlebox, comprising a series of stimulating and challenging outdoor activity kits.

Stinkbombs, catapults and ‘owl hoot’ whistles for sending secret signals are just some of the kit contents which are capturing youngsters’ imaginations. They are also striking a chord with parents keen to reduce their offspring’s ‘screen time’ in favour of traditional outdoor pursuits.

Designed with help from her children, the small but vibrant cottage industry progressed from a stall at the school fair to exhibiting at major retail events in London. The family’s close involvement means that Emma’s children (Lucy, 17, Alice, 15, and Edward, now 11) and their friends have all gained valuable experience in marketing, sales and product development.

Thanks to a £200k investment from Jonathan Turner over the last 12 months, the venture has been transformed into a business which is attracting orders from Hong Kong and South Africa.

Said Emma: “I started the company after noticing the increasing number of screen-based games aimed at young children. At six years old Edward had outgrown the traditional wooden train sets and available toys seemed limited to television spin-offs or computer games. I therefore created a kit with clothes, equipment and tools – everything he needed to have an adventure.

“I have nothing against consoles or TV but children do need to learn that real life can be a much more interesting place to be.”

Said Jonathan Turner who jointly owns 50 per cent of Battlebox with Bayford Group MD Liz Slater: “We’ve invested heavily in a new website and are attracting interest from overseas with orders from customers as far afield as America, Australia and South Africa who want their families to enjoy the outdoor adventure experience which the kits provide.”