A young graduate of Queen Margaret University (QMU) pit her skills against some of the UK’s most innovative and competitive graduates last week when she pitched her inspiring new food business at the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards in London.
Lauren Leisk, director of Fodilicious, was awarded runner-up in the finals of the leading national entrepreneurship awards, holding her own against graduates from some of the country’s most prestigious universities including Oxford.
Lauren, whose business Fodilicious creates food solutions for those affected by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), was the only Scot pitching in the Non Technology category and the only female winner in the awards.
The 24-year-old from Livingston, who graduated from QMU’s BA (Hons) Business Management in 2016, recognised there was a gap in the market for premium healthy free from convenience foods suitable for people coping with various digestive disorders. With personal experience of IBS and armed with first-hand knowledge of the effect the condition can have on a person’s day-to-day life, Lauren was empowered to establish Fodilicious - the UK’s first ‘Free From’ food range, suitable for the low FODMAP diet*.
Lauren travelled to London last week – accompanied by Miriam Smith (QMU Business Development Manager) and Heather Edie (QMU Head of Development and Alumni) - to deliver her Fodilicious pitch to a panel of experts.
The panel included Nathan Bostock (CEO of Santander UK), Jenny Evans (founder of Jenny Kate Designs), Adam Ball (general manager of Talent Cupboard) and Julie Devonshire (Director of the Entrepreneurship Institute at King’s College London), each of whom grilled her on every aspect of her young business.
Despite facing stiff competition from some of the UK’s most talented innovators, Lauren was delighted to be named runner-up in the Non Technology category, securing £15,000 of equity-free seed funding, a fully-funded intern, and a £500 digital growth voucher from Talent Cupboard.
Lauren said: “I am absolutely delighted. It has been a phenomenal experience and I have learned so much which will help Fodilicious to scale up for success!
“Thank you so much Santander Universities and Queen Margaret University for all of your support throughout my start up journey. I really appreciate it.”
During the event, which hosted students and colleagues from across the country, Nathan Bostock, Santander UK’s CEO, stressed the importance of supporting higher education as well as entrepreneurial talent and said: “We’re proud of our commitment to the higher education sector and supporting entrepreneurial students with innovative business ideas that have the power to disrupt sectors.
"We were truly impressed by the commitment, talent and inspiring ideas presented and are delighted to announce Fodilicious as a runner up in the 2018 awards. We wish them all the best for their future success.”
This most recent achievement comes hot on the heels of a year of accomplishments for Lauren since Fodilicious was established in September 2017. Earlier this year she was named as a Royal Society of Edinburgh Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellow, and she is also a finalist in this year’s Young Scot Awards, which take place on Friday (30 November) in the Enterprise category.
*FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligo- saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono- saccharides, and Polyols. These are found in a wide range of foods that are difficult to digest and should be avoided for those who suffer from IBS.
Notes to Editor
For further media information please contact Karen Keith, Media Relations and Content Officer at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 0131 474 0000.