A social enterprise concept linking allotment and small farm owners with restaurants and cafés has won its founder the Bespoke Hotels' Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Harriet Small's Loco idea is intended to operate through an innovative voucher scheme and a bicycle-based distribution network, employing young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The award - open to third-year Hospitality and Tourism students at Oxford Brookes University - featured a Dragons' Den-style judging process, held at Bespoke's Bermondsey Square hotel in London.
Judges included Robin Sheppard, chairman of Bespoke Hotels, Joe Levin, director of hospitality services for the EMEA region at Goldman Sachs, Sam Harrison, founder of Sam's Brasserie & Bar, Bev King, managing director of Z Hotels, and Rupert Power, founder of Sophie's Steakhouse.
"The Oxford Brookes Dragons' Den programme is a very topical concept which we hope will continue to inspire and tempt the hospitality pioneers of tomorrow," said Sheppard.
"Coming up with a great idea is the easy part for the left side of the brain; knowing how to raise backing for that idea and turn it into profit requires an entirely different side of the brain and skill set."
By Janet Harmer
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