African super fruit firm wins £5000 at Virgin Media competition

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 14:18:00 GMT

GCU graduate and entrepreneur Isatou Njai has won £5,000 for her company and a meet-and-greet with Sir Richard Branson after triumphing in a Virgin Media business event.

Isatou, who set up breakfast drink firm Hippo & Hedgehog with her partner Paul Blackler, impressed the judges with a pitch as part of the Virgin Media Voom Tour, held on Buchanan Street in Glasgow.

This latest success adds to a £1,000 grant from Santander Universities and Scottish Edge Wildcard funding of up to £10,000.

Hippo & Hedgehog, which is supported by UHatch at GCU, produces a drink, Baotic, made from the African super fruit baobab.

Isatou, originally from The Gambia, graduated from GCU’s International Business (Risk Management) programme, will meet GCU honorary graduate and Virgin Media boss Sir Richard Branson as part of the prize.

She said: "It means a lot to have won. The award will make a massive difference to the business and will allow us to make a big push on marketing.

"Support from UHatch and the initial grant we received from Santander Universities have been fundamental to our development.

“I hope it will give awareness to GCU students about UHatch and the support that is available to start your own business. The university is there to give help with everything you need to get started.”

UHatch academic lead Professor Bruce Wood offered his congratulations to Isatou, he said: "This is a fantastic achievement. While the cash award will be very helpful to them in the development of their business, the national recognition and the support will bring very real benefits to their company.

"To see individuals and start-up companies that we have supported at GCU flourish helps build confidence within our other UHatch companies and also helps to build and enhance the reputation of GCU overall."