Caroline Stevenson, founder of Foodinate, has been named winner of the prestigious “Entrepreneur of the Year” award at this year’s Free2Network business awards. Foodinate is an innovative social enterprise teaming up with bars and restaurants to tackle food poverty in the UK. The news comes following a successful 4-week pilot, which saw the donation of 1,020 meals for local people in need.
Foodinate is an innovative social enterprise, designed to make having an impact on food poverty in the UK as easy as dining at your favourite restaurants. The premise is simple: every time a Foodinate branded meal is bought in a participating restaurant, another meal is donated to those in need. The restaurant agrees to cover the cost of the donated meal, so all the diner has to do is order a meal from the menu that’s been marked with a Foodinate sticker. The meals funded by the program are then served by a variety of food-giving charities across the country.
Stevenson, 23, Manchester born-and-bred, launched the pilot in September with the backing of several big names in the Northern food and drink scene, including both branches of The Rub Smokehouse and Bar venues in Nottingham and Birmingham, along with Odd Bar, Oddest Bar and The Blue Pig bar in Manchester’s vibrant Northern Quarter. Meals funded by the pilot are being served by The Booth Centre, a day centre for homeless people, also in Manchester.
Of the award, Stevenson said: “I could not be more excited to win this award. Not only is it an absolute honour to be chosen as the Entrepreneur of the Year, but to me this award means even more than that, because it tells me I am going in exactly the right direction about tackling an issue that is so close to my heart. I really can’t thank the Rub Smokehouses and the Odd Bar Group enough for believing in this concept from the outset.”
Margaret Carter, Free2Network guest judge and Patchwork Traditional Food Company’s CEO and founder said: “Foodinate is awesome and such an original concept, incredibly well and thoroughly thought out, especially as the founder is so young. Caroline has a very clear vision and most importantly, the drive and passion to drive a business, and this is why she was a clear winner. A very honourable concept.”
Cleo Farman, managing director of the Odd Bar Group said to The Independent: “We’ve noticed a big impact on the sales of the items with the Foodinate stickers. We’ve put them on a big sharing board, a steak and one of our burgers. Homelessness is a really big problem in Manchester, yet we see all these bars and restaurants around. I really liked the idea that we could take part.”
"I could not be more excited to win this award. It is an absolute honour to be chosen as the Entrepreneur of the Year"
Caroline Stevenson, founder of Foodinate
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