Entrepreneur of the Week: Douglas Wiggins, Body Quest Ice Cream

You rarely see the words “ice cream” and “healthy” in the same sentence, unless that sentence is, “If you want to be healthy, don’t eat too much ice cream.” But in the case of Douglas Wiggins‘ company, Body Quest Ice Cream, the sweet treat is an exception to the rule. In fact, his frozen dessert is the protein supplement of choice in numerous medical facilities around Atlanta (Body Quest’s former headquarters) and beyond.

Each four-ounce serving of Body Quest (available in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and lemon) is packed with 16 grams of easily digestible whey protein–ideal for hospital patients in need of a protein supplement, as well as athletes or any health-conscious consumer looking for a snack that offers more than a candy bar or a carton of Ben & Jerry’s.

Body Quest’s innovative twist on a familiar product is getting Wiggins noticed. In 2011, he was brought into the funding-and-mentoring program of 100 Urban Entrepreneurs, the nonprofit organization that offers $10,000 in grants and eights weeks of business mentoring to urban businesspeople nationwide.  (He came to the attention of 100UE by winning a business-pitch competition at last year’s Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo (the 2012 version of the annual event will take place this May in Chicago).

Some might say that ice cream runs in Wiggins’s veins; his uncle, Henry, ran Hank’s Ice Cream in Houston for 25 years. In the early 1990s, Wiggins–who grew up in Amherst, New York, and graduated with a degree in environmental engineering from Syracuse–moved to Houston to learn the trade, later opening a Hank’s outpost in Atlanta. In 2003, he broke out on his own and founded Body Quest.

These days, the business is anything but frozen in place. In October 2011, Body Quest was acquired by Charlotte, North Carolina—based Lindy’s Homemade, a move that Wiggins says “has increased manufacturing capability and market distribution” significantly. The reason for his success is vanilla-simple, he says: It has everything to do with broad appeal.

“Body Quest is used by bodybuilders, athletes and people with medical conditions: chemotherapy patients, dialysis patients, AIDS patients, burn victims, maternity, stroke, assisted living, dental and pediatric,” he Wiggins explains. “Additionally, consumers who want a healthier alternative with more protein and lower sugar enjoy our product.”

Kids, adults, the sick, the healthy; just about everyone loves ice cream. And Wiggins has made it easier than ever for all of them to enjoy it guilt-free. It’s a delectable confection and a sweet business model.

Learn more about Douglas Wiggins and Body Quest Ice Cream on 100urbanentrepreneurs.org.

Are you an entrepreneur? Then join us at the 2012 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo hosted by Nationwide, May 23-26, at the Hilton Chicago Hotel in Chicago, IL where small business is BIG BUSINESS. Expect innovative sessions, high-powered speakers, and an early peek at the products, trends, and services you’ll need to stay ahead of the curve. Beat the March 16 Early Bird deadline to get a $200 registration discount at www.blackenterprise.com/ec/! And be sure to nominate your company or another business for our Small Business Awards! Want to pitch your business idea and win $10,000? Don’t miss the chance to enter our Elevator Pitch Competition before March 30 to qualify for the $10,000 grand prize. To register and find out more, visit www.blackenterprise.com/ec/