Artisan food market site scoops £5k in Big Pitch

Published: 27 May 2020 at 16:56

Logo for the Big Pitch competition

Three ARU students win thousands to bring their business ideas to market

A social enterprise which brings together artisan and small food producers from around the UK into a central website has won Anglia Ruskin University’s Big Pitch 2020 competition.

The annual competition is open to all ARU students who can pitch their idea for a business. Through industry contacts and a £10,000 prize pot, the competition helps them nurture and refine that idea and take it to market.

The winner of £5,000 prize money this year was Gather and Feed, a social enterprise set up by Sustainability students Joy Skipper and Chris Pickard, aiming to harness the public’s interest in artisan food by bringing producers from all over the UK into one website, accessible to all.

A percentage of profits would go to setting up and running community kitchens where volunteers would hold cooking lessons and feed people with surplus food donated from supermarkets.

Joy said:
“Chris and I both feel very lucky to have been winners, as the standard of finalists was so high. 

“The money will allow us to set up the company, website and branding to help us market and attract the sustainable suppliers we are passionate about supporting.  

“The success of our business will mean more support for local communities with regards to food poverty and food waste.”

A prize of £3,000 went to Ignacio Gonzalez-Alcalde’s AC Biode project which aims to produce the first AC battery. This project also won the £3,000 prize provided by competition sponsors Engineers in Business.

Finally. MSc Mental Health student Mariam Begum Allison picked up £2,000 for herMindfulbodyspirit Ltd business which provides workshops and one-to-one coaching, by teaching mindfulness to support people with their mental health.

This year’s competition had to overcome hurdles provided by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the grand final being held online.

Imrana Begum, organiser of the Big Pitch, said:

“Every year we continue to be astounded by the quality of the entries to the competition and this year the standard was extremely high.

“There were obstacles with the pandemic but fittingly, we were able to use innovation to get around that and we were delighted to be able to hold the grand final and present the prizes to the winners virtually.”