£45k cash injection helps QMU entrepreneur develop convenience meals for IBS sufferers
A young entrepreneur who is creating food solutions for people suffering from IBS has gained an incredible £45k cash injection for her business thanks to a prestigious Royal Society of Edinburgh Fellowship.
Lauren Leisk, a young business graduate from Queen Margaret University, is one of only 20 entrepreneurs selected as an RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellow. The initiative is supporting high potential entrepreneurs to start up their businesses in Scotland, and will assist Lauren with bespoke advice, grant funding and business development support to take her specialist food company, Fodilicious, to the next level.
Having discovered a gap in the market for fresh, healthy convenience foods suitable for people coping with various digestive disorders, twenty four year old Lauren has been sweeping the board in several national entrepreneurial competitions taking place this summer, However, it is the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Unlocking Ambition initiative, backed by Scotland’s First Minister, which is the most significant for the young entrepreneur.
Although Lauren had experienced some IBS issues in her teens, by the age of 20 she could no longer ignore them. As a business student at QMU, juggling study and work, she had an increasingly busy life style. Often eating on the go, her symptoms of discomfort, pain and bloating intensified and despite her best efforts, she struggled to find readily available food products suitable for her condition as most were full of additives and preservatives.
However, Lauren decided to turn a negative to a positive. She used her personal experience and her business skills to set up Fodilicious - plugging the gap for tasty, nutritional foods and freshly prepared meals for people with IBS.
Lauren explained: “After years of struggling with IBS, I discovered the low FODMAP diet which eliminates all trigger foods that can set off IBS symptoms. Despite the word ‘diet’, a low FODMAP approach is not focused on weight loss – instead it limits foods high in a group of sugars called FODMAPs that have been shown to aggravate the gut, and therefore eases symptoms associated with IBS such as bloating, pain and gas.”
She continued: "I decided to prepare recipes substituting normal ingredients for low FODMAP alternatives, and the results were fantastic!”
In September 2017, Lauren created Fodilicious, an innovative and UK exclusive food manufacturing business providing convenient, healthy meal options following the low FODMAP diet, (IBS-friendly). The Fodilicious products are also gluten-free and dairy-free, and cover a range of special dietary requirements, effectively positioning Fodilicious in the fast growing ‘free from’ food market.
Lauren, who has based her company in her home town of Livingston, said: "I’ve been working with experts at QMU on a new product range and I am a tenant of the University’s Business Innovation Zone (BIZ) which offers QMU graduate entrepreneurs access to free space and business support via Business Gateway, as well as networking and funding opportunities. This is an important university service which provides useful facilities and guidance to new graduates during the early stages of their business development.”
Miriam Smith, Business Development Manager at Queen Margaret University, said: “QMU has been delighted to see Lauren making such an impact in Scotland’s entrepreneurial ecosytem and winning several thousand pounds to support her future business development. She was
amongst 20 winning entrepreneurs announced today by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, which means that she will now benefit from a 12-month cutting-edge company start-up programme.”
This is the first time that QMU has been awarded an enterprise fellowship which, in addition to supporting the graduate, provides financial assistance to the University to continue hosting Lauren within its Business Innovation Zone.
In addition to today’s success, Lauren has also received a £10k boost to her business from Scottish Edge. She has also made it through to the finals of the Santander Entrepreneurship Competition.
Miriam Smith concluded: “Lauren is an impressive young woman who has identified an important gap in the specialist food market for people with digestive disorders who want to eat well and maintain good health. We are so proud of what Lauren has achieved in such a short time since graduating. She is an excellent alumni ambassador for QMU. Her vision to service a growing market with a suitable diet for their health requirements fits well with QMU’s mission of developing graduates who have the skills and ability to improve the quality of people’s lives.
“We have every faith that Lauren will use the Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship to continuing building on the success of Fodilicious and we wish her all the best in the next stage of the Santander competition.”
Learn more about Lauren Leisk and Fodilicious.
Notes to Editor
NOTES TO EDITOR
For further media information about Queen Margaret University, please contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 0131 474 0000, M: 07711 011239.