FruitFULL idea yields award

A team of University postgraduates has won the Environment YES competition, part of the Young Entrepreneurs Scheme.

(L-R): Joseph Hicks, Tiffany Aslam and Nigel Taylor

Joseph Hicks, Tiffany Aslam and Nigel Taylor from the Environment YES competition

Environment YES provides workshops and training in business skills designed to develop business awareness and an understanding of entrepreneurship in UK environmental postgraduate and postdoctoral students. Environment YES is co-organised by the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The University of Nottingham and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

The team consisted of four School of Biology students; Tiffany Aslam, Joseph Hicks, Nigel Taylor and Pete Steward. They were asked to think of an idea with a clear environmental benefit, then create a business plan to pitch to a panel of investors before a final one minute ‘elevator pitch’, summarising the business and the investment opportunity.

Together the team created FruitFULL Ltd., and developed a range of natural, multifunctional, edible fruit coatings. The coatings consist of a cellulose base, essential oils with antimicrobial activity and a patented algal extract called StayFRESH, which inhibits the ripening process and keeps fruit fresh for longer.

The product would supply consumers with better quality fruit that lasts longer at home, reducing domestic food waste. The coating could also be applied in fruit packing houses, reducing fruit wastage and providing financial incenvitves along the whole supply chain.

The winners of Environment YES receive a £2,500 prize, places on an Indigo Business Solutions training programme and the opportunity to present at the Rice Business Plan competition in the United States.

Managing Director Tiffany Aslam said: "We’re delighted to have won. It’s been a fantastic experience, we’ve put in some long hours and hard work and we’ve gained a lot of new skills. We’re very grateful for this opportunity.

We’ve gained a whole range of entrepreneurial skills as well as an appreciation of the process that companies go through for their products to reach markets. It’s made us all think differently about our futures.”

Professor Duncan Wingham, NERC Chief Executive, said: "The participants in this competition gain valuable skills in taking NERC's world class science and translating it into wider impacts for the economy and society. Environment YES is invaluable for encouraging our researchers to think in a more business-focused way about responsible management of the environment."

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