Lauren Leisk, from Broxburn in Scotland, developed a head for business whilst studying the BA (Hons) Business Management at Queen Margaret University.
Since graduating, she has excelled as an entrepreneur – establishing Fodilicious, an innovative health food business providing the UK’s first low FODMAP, gut friendly snacks and breakfast granola for those who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and for people who have food allergies and intolerances.
With QMU’s support, Lauren has won heaps of awards, scholarships and funding with organisations such as Scottish Edge, Edinburgh Merchant Company, Scottish Institute for Enterprise and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Recently, her company Fodilicious won the UK-wide Health Food Business of the Year 2021! Lauren is also part of the Scottish Government’s prestigious “Unlocking Ambition UA3” cohort, a highly praised programme dedicated to support high growth businesses in Scotland.
Lauren studied at Broxburn Academy in West Lothian and wished to study business management at university, but did not want to travel far from home. As far as she was concerned Edinburgh was one of the best places to study in the world, so why go anywhere else! She chose to study business at Queen Margaret University because of the University's great employment rate and a stunning, modern campus with everything under one roof. Lauren loved its friendly, welcoming atmosphere and its small family vibe.
She said: “I loved my four year degree and I really enjoyed being part of a modern university which is focused on developing students with the skills, knowledge and attitude to succeed. All the staff are totally invested in helping students be the best they can be. They give you the tools and opportunities to achieve your potential. I had great support from academic staff when I was studying on my course, and since graduating, I’ve had outstanding support, networking and training opportunities, through QMU’s Business Innovation Zone, to help me develop and grow my business.”
“I’m proud to be part of a university that makes a difference to the world – that is interested in sustainability, equality and health. As a smaller university, it’s more responsive to students’ individual needs, so it can help you focus your learning and research on topics that really interest you. Since starting Fodilicious, QMU have given me world-class, tailored entrepreneurial and business support which I don’t believe I would have had access to elsewhere. I am passionate about sustainability, so I used the opportunity to learn more by making it the subject of my dissertation, which then helped me in my career development. I had a great learning experience with QMU and graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) Business Management in 2016. It’s been all go ever since!
“After graduating, I took on a General Manager’s position with Pizza Hut having worked my way up there during my time as a student. As the company’s youngest store manager in the UK at the time, I was responsible for a team of 25 staff and all areas of running the store. It was a fantastic experience putting into practice everything I had learned at QMU – marketing strategies, operations management, business strategy and finance.
“Having suffered from IBS from a young age, and having success with a low FODMAP diet, I was frustrated at the lack of IBS friendly food products available to buy in the UK and spotted a gap in the market. IBS affects 1 in 7 people worldwide and a low FODMAP diet effectively relieves symptoms. In 2017, I set out on a mission to create Fodilicious to help others like me find delicious, gut friendly food products for their diet. We started trading in 2018, and now, we offer a range of tasty snacks – our delicious bite-sized Cookie Buttons – and have most recently launched the UK’s first low FODMAP, gut friendly granola, made using premium natural ingredients, which are in demand from customers from all over the UK, as well as the USA and Canada! All of our products are 100% natural, vegan, gluten free, and free from allergens, so we’re positioned in the fast growing free-from industry and it’s been a huge success to date!”
“Even though I graduated in 2016, I’m still heavily involved with QMU. I’m a tenant in the University’s Business Innovation Zone which means I continue to receive support and networking opportunities to grow my business. I’ve also worked with specialists from QMU’s Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation to help develop new, exciting products to add to our range!
“QMU’s team has helped me raise my profile and I’ve been in loads of newspapers, media features such as STV News and social media clips!”
"Even though I graduated in 2016, I’m still heavily involved with QMU. I’m a tenant in the University’s Business Innovation Zone which means I continue to receive support and networking opportunities to grow my business."