As part of NUS's Student Eats - a sustainable food programme supporting students to grow food and develop food-based social enterprises - we have provided start-up costs and mentoring for a total of 62 student-led enterprises. Now, Student Eats has awarded nine of these projects scale-up support, including a total of over £100,000!
Participants in each enterprise have been invited to attend a residential. Over three days, the winners will listen, learn and discuss - all with the aim of making their enterprises the best and most sustainable they can be. The enterprises will put together business models, considering things such as: mission and objectives; organisational governance; market research; marketing plans; operational issues; financial projections; impact and risk analysis. People will have the opportunity to receive 1-2-1 mentoring, too.
And the support doesn't stop there. The awarded enterprises will have access to further support days, regular webinars, peer-to-peer mentoring, study visits to other enterprises, and access to professional support.
And the nine winning enterprises are...
1. EcoSoup - Leeds Beckett University
Having started by using surplus vegetables to make soup to sell in the students' union once a week, and catering for events, EcoSoup is now expanding to a second campus, to sell five days per week. It will also start selling to university caterers and events - and grow into a cafe!
2. Edible Campus - Lancaster University
This project began as a preserve-making and dried wholefoods food co-op at the university farmers' market - now, it's going to add more enterprises, including soup, honey and microgreens, to sell on a weekly stall!
3. Exeter VegShare - University of Exeter
VegShare started out selling vegetable bags filled with local organic producers' products as well as campus-grown greens. Thanks to the scale-up support, they're planning to develop a growing site to foster their own produce for the project and expand to a second campus.
4. LUU Leaves - University of Leeds
This enterprise is growing its growing from mixed salad leaves for the campus shop and university caterers to include flowers and herbs that they'll sell directly to students, too!
5. Penryn Produce - University of Falmouth
Penryn Produce is developing its local, organic -supplied veg box scheme by growing their own produce, selling dried wholefoods, making soup, and expanding to a second campus.
6. SCRAN - University of Central Lancashire
SCRAN'S range of sustainable food, sold at the university's Student Eats farmers' market, will be expanding - including to fermented products! They'll also start selling at events.
7. The Apple Project - Wiltshire College
From selling apple juice using apples from local Wildlife Trust orchards that would otherwise go to waste, The Apple Project will now be making more apple juice and other preserves - such as chutney using excess local produce.
8. Gastro Hub - Canterbury Christ Church University
This project that creates pop-up community events using surplus food is blooming to host more and more events!
9. This is our Jam - Roehampton University
This start-up began using campus-grown produce to make preserves in student cookery lessons - which were then sold at the university shop and farmers' market. Now, they're developing their activities with the aim of paying a student intern each year to run the enterprise.
Congratulations to all the winners; we look forward to sharing more about their progress in the coming weeks and months!
If you're interested in starting your own sustainable food social enterprise, you may be interested to know we still have a few spaces left in our start-up round.
Student Eats is part of the Our Bright Future Programme, funded by The Big Lottery Fund, and is delivered in partnership with Sustain - the alliance for better food and farming - and the Soil Association.