£45k cash boost for en­tre­pre­neur

West Lothian Courier - - News - Mar­jorie Kerr

A young West Loth­ian en­tre­pre­neur has gained a £45,000 cash boost for her busi­ness.

Lau­ren Leisk, a young busi­ness grad­u­ate from Queen Mar­garet Univer­sity, is one of only 20 en­trepreneurs se­lected as an Royal So­ci­ety of Ed­in­burgh 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, 24- 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 life­style. 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. 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 prod­ucts are also gluten- free and dairyfree, and cover a range of spe­cial di­etary re­quire­ments.

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.”

QMU has been de­lighted to see Lau­ren mak­ing such an im­pact

Fund­ing se­cured Lau­ren re­ceived a grant

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