Just Food are a student led project who received funding through ACT Now, and are part of WE Innovate 2018.
Imperial College student May Laghzaoui speaks to us about the future of Just Food, and her experience as a student entrepreneur.
If you want to find out more about Just Food follow them on Instagram & Twitter (@justfood_uk).
Where did you draw inspiration for your enterprise?
The food industry contributes to a huge number of environmental problems including, deforestation, biodiversity loss and global warming to name a few. We created Just Food in order to assess restaurants based on their sustainability criteria and inform consumers to help them make more ethical decisions. There are so many amazing restaurants in the capital who are already working hard to reduce their waste and source responsibly, but their efforts are going mostly unrecognised. We wanted to celebrate these restaurants and raise the bar for sustainable dining across the city.
What does the future look like for Just Food?
In 5 years time, we want to have disrupted the London food scene and created a higher standard for sustainable eating. Our project is infinitely scalable and we hope to bring it to other cities across the country and across the globe. We are planning to launch an app to enable quick sustainable restaurant recommendations wherever you are along with referral codes and discounts.
How do you manage your enterprise project alongside your studies?
It is sometimes hard to juggle Just Food alongside studying for a Masters' degree, especially as we are part of the WE Innovate programme which involves weekly events and catch-ups as well as regular business coaching. However, it is 100% worth it. To help organise our lives better I created a content plan for our marketing activities, which can help us prepare for when we have essays due or other deadlines to work around. We have also separated ourselves into specific roles so that each team member can own their projects and we divide the work equally.
How has ACT Now funding impacted your project?
ACT Now funding has been a crucial part of creating our business and growing our user base. With half of the funding we were able to buy a domain name and create our website, which is the core of our product. The other half of the funding we spent on marketing campaigns including posters, Facebook and Instagram ads. These have helped us gain followers on social media and drive users to our website.
Why should students take a chance on their own social enterprise ideas?
It is an amazing experience being able to work on a project which you are so passionate about for a cause you truly believe in. I would advise anyone thinking of starting their own social enterprise to do so as you can't fail if you haven't tried! Imperial is so supportive and has so many different programmes and funds on offer that really help guide you through the process of setting up a social enterprise. There really is nothing to lose, as even if the idea doesn’t come to anything you will no doubt learn a huge amount on the way and meet some inspiring people.