A Leeds Business School graduate is one of nine regional winners of Barclays' 'One Small Step' competition and has scooped a prize of £50,000.
Matthew Cole, who has just completed the BA Marketing & Advertising Management at Leeds Metropolitan University, devised his business start-up idea, Salad|Bowl, in the first year of his course.
"I came up with the idea for Salad|Bowl when I was trying to lose the weight I put on over freshers. After the gym I wanted somewhere I could go and not feel like I had put on everything that I had just burnt off. I had a busy lifestyle with university and work, so if I didn't make food myself I was stuck with what was on offer at the high street. I also wanted somewhere I could go and freshly 'create my own' as the salads that supermarkets sold were tiny and had usually been sitting there for a few days."
Salad|Bowl is a joint business with his childhood friend Adam Meyers, who has been a chef for the past six years.
"I chose a marketing course because I thought that it was, in my opinion, the most important aspect of business. This was justified within my first lecture when we were told 'the language of business is the language of the customer', as that is what marketing is all about. Through my course I have learnt what skills you need to be a good marketer and how to build a successful brand, which I hope Salad|Bowl will be."
They hope to open their first restaurant in Liverpool as Adam is familiar with the local industry there. After six months they intend to open a second store in Leeds and then four more across the north leading to a franchise.
More than 5,000 businesses registered to take part in the competition, with entries being whittled down to a shortlist of 27. The nine winners were decided by a public vote. Salad|Bowl plans to work with health and fitness professionals to create balanced, healthy meal options using fairtrade products. The restaurant's main offering will be a 'create your own salad', with more than 50 toppings available and 15 low fat dressings.