A start-up business set up to help people eat more healthily for less, enjoyed a taste of success this month after scooping the Hallam University Enterprise award.

Hallam history graduate James Barthorpe and his business partner Paul Simpson launched Food Circle in January 2018. Appalled at the quantity of good quality food and drink products that were routinely going to waste, James and Paul decided to create Food Circle, the first online UK based retailer offering surplus “in-date” healthy food and drink products, to customers at half the recommended retail price.

The Hallam Enterprise Awards take place every year, and provides an opportunity for Hallam student and graduate start-ups to showcase their businesses and share their achievements with an audience and judging panel of fellow entrepreneurs and innovators from the business and higher education communities.

There was £10,000 of prize money up for grabs on the night, donated by Santander Universities (winner and runners-up awards) and QUICKPLAY (audience vote for the best business pitch). QUICKPLAY was co-founded by two Hallam graduates (Allen Holland and Will Parsons). As graduate recipients of the Enterprise Challenge Award back in 2006,  they were keen to support the next generation of Hallam entrepreneurs.

The standard and diversity of the businesses on show this year was very high, and the judges had a very difficult time in selecting the winners for this year. In addition to the winner Food Circle, there were two runners-up prizes: The Happiness Bootcamp, a social enterprise created by psychology student Amiee Browes, which helps people combat their mental health issues through the power of physical exercise and Fula Flavour, created by Hawa Soh, a business and human resource management graduate. Fula Flavour has created a range of Djembe chilli sauces inspired by her culinary childhood experiences from her country of origin in Guinea, West Africa.

The prize for the best pitch was awarded to computer science graduate and international break-dance specialist Torrell Euan. Torrell has combined his two passions to create Woosh! An electronic judging system that can be used for competitive break-dancing at all levels of competition.

Caroline Nouvellon, Manager of the Enterprise Team at Sheffield Hallam University said: “This is the second Hallam Enterprise Awards we have hosted and it has already become the highlight in the Enterprise Team’s calendar. This awards event provides our talented students and graduates with an opportunity to showcase their businesses, entrepreneurial flair and professionalism. Their passion, drive and belief in their businesses combined with their resilience when meeting the challenges and set-backs they have all encountered, has made them worthy and deserving finalists. I am confident that all of their ventures have the potential for success and sustainability in the years ahead”.

“As last year, this year’s finalists represent the diversity of the business ideas that are presented to us throughout the year. What has particularly struck me about this year’s shortlisted businesses is that half of them represent the social enterprise sector. I am very proud that our students and graduates are so environmentally and socially aware and that through their businesses they strive to make theirs and the lives of their fellow citizens more fulfilled”.

Other finalists this year included:

Student Businesses

  • Waste is Rubbish (Lydia Wakefield: Product Design)

Graduate Businesses

  • Techne Global Sports (Niall O’Reilly: Sports Coaching )
  • Story Drawing Club (Emma Stone: Design Illustration)
  • Pachuri Associates (Lahairi Parchuri: MBA)
  • Drone 360 Vision (Joshua Dickinson and Kier Coldwell: International Business)

Blink Vision Video (Joe Gist, Aidan Joseph and William Wade: Film Making)