A Birmingham business which creates cooking sauces from jackfruit has won new funding and brunch with Sir Richard Branson as part of a pitching competition.
Project Jackfruit was founded by Jordan Grayson and Abi Robertson, both 23, and is an online business based in Harborne which produces homemade, ethically sourced vegan and savoury cooking sauces.
The pair impressed judges at the Birmingham heat of the Virgin Business Voom Pitch competition to pip five other local start-ups to the £5,000 prize and meeting with Sir Richard.
The judging panel said Project Jackfruit impressed with its clear business proposition, impressive sales and innovative concept which turns the nutritious yet relatively unknown jackfruit into four cooking sauces.
Mr Grayson and Ms Robertson came up with the idea for the company while at university and looking for cheaper and healthier dinner alternatives to dishes like pulled-pork.
After discovering the potential of jackfruit while shopping for ingredients in a local Indian corner shop, they started experimenting with flavours and found that, if they cooked young jackfruit, the resulting texture was very similar to pulled meat.
The pair decided to quit their jobs and bring jackfruit to a wider audience.
Mr Grayson said: "I thoroughly enjoyed pitching at the Voom competition and am so surprised and excited that we won.
"We're already in talks with a major UK food retailer so this investment will help us find a suitable manufacturer in India, where the jackfruit grows, so we can upscale production and it will also fund our marketing activity."