The Rugby Players Association (RPA) is delighted to announce Billy Keast of Exeter Chiefs as the worthy recipient of this season's first Vodafone Business Gain Line Award with his speciality coffee and Cornish clothing brand No. 1 Cubs.
Born and raised in Cornwall, the young forward was always destined to take up rugby, following in his father’s footsteps. Billy signed for Exeter Chiefs when he was studying at Truro College and has gone on to achieve international recognition with England at various age groups, making his Chiefs debut in 2016.
Keast set up his business No. 1 Cubs back in October 2018 after a year of planning and set-up. The name was inspired by his position for Exeter Chiefs, No.1, and the Chicago Cubs baseball team that was playing on the TV in the background while he was brainstorming with his co-founder Matt Butler.
Cubs started with the idea of creating a simple but strikingly designed van to travel to Cornwall and the rest of the South-West serving coffee and food at events and festivals. In the last year, the business has grown extensively to now include four permanent coffee shops, with another two shops in Cornwall and a third in Devon planned for 2022. Most recently, No.1 Cubs has taken up residence in the form of a Winter pop up in The Beach Hut at the famous Watergate Bay hotel.
His unique clothing range aims to promote the relaxing Cornish way of life including modern hoodies, sweatshirts, and t-shirts. In addition to the individual clothing range, the business sells teamwear and leisurewear to over 30 colleges and universities in the UK.
On winning the award, Keast said: "When Craig, our RPA Development Manager for Exeter Chiefs, spoke to me about it I was pretty surprised to be nominated, so to come away with the award is great. I’m very thankful for it and it makes me appreciate what I’ve done in the last few years myself and it’s nice to be recognised. I look forward to continuing my professional rugby career alongside growing No 1 Cubs with my business partner Matt and our great team."
Keast’s RPA Development Manager, Craig Townsend, said: “Billy has dedicated the last three years to building a successful nationally renowned business and brand alongside a developing professional rugby career. He had a clear vision, put it into place, acted and made that vision a reality, not just in one business sector but three – coffee, clothing and property!”
Penny Maltby-Payne - RPA Head of Communications pmaltbypayne@theRPA.co.uk
Read Our Interview With Billy
About The RPA
The Rugby Players Association is the representative body and collective voice of professional rugby players in England. We represent more than 800 male and female current rugby players, as well as more than 400 former players.
It is our mission to support, promote and protect the interests of our members, from the moment they sign their first professional contracts, throughout their playing careers, and beyond as they embark on the next phase of their lives.
Our members enjoy a wide range of benefits, including: independent representation; legal advice; personal and professional development; playing insurance; education; confidential counselling; transition support; and much more. Members can also access the support of our official charity, Restart, in the event of serious illness, injury or hardship.
The RPA has also acted as the exclusive commercial representative of the England Team since 2004 and performs the following duties on behalf of Team England: Negotiation of the Elite Players Squad Contract, England and Saxons match fees, England team win bonuses and Image Rights payments with the RFU.
About Vodafone UK
Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were also the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. As of June 2021, we have 5G in 364 locations across Europe – 124 in the UK and 240 across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland. Our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.
Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.
Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.
For more information about Vodafone UK please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk