Founder of innovative not-for-profit initiative teaming up with restaurants to fight food poverty gains national recognition.

Caroline Stevenson, founder of Foodinate, has been named winner of the prestigious “Entrepreneur of the Year” award at this year’s Free2Network business awards.

Foodinate is an innovative social enterprise teaming up with bars and restaurants to tackle food poverty in the UK. The news comes following a successful 4-week pilot, which saw the donation of 1,020 meals for local people in need.

Like the best ideas, the premise is simple – for every Foodinate-designated meal ordered at a participating restaurant, the restaurant will donate a sum of money to a local charity which will enable it to provide a nourishing meal for a person in need.

Caroline, 23, from Manchester, launched the pilot in September with the backing of several big names on the northern food and drink scene, including Odd Bar, Oddest Bar and The Blue Pig bar in the Northern Quarter. Meals funded by the pilot are being served by The Booth Centre, a day centre for homeless people.

“I could not be more excited to win this award,” said Caroline. “Not only is it an absolute honour to be chosen as the Entrepreneur of the Year, but to me this award means even more than that, because it tells me I am going in exactly the right direction about tackling an issue that is so close to my heart. I really can’t thank the Rub Smokehouses and the Odd Bar Group enough for believing in this concept from the outset.”

Margaret Carter, one of the Free2Network judges, said: “Foodinate is awesome and such an original concept, incredibly well and thoroughly thought out, especially as the founder is so young. Caroline has a very clear vision and most importantly, the drive and passion to drive a business, and this is why she was a clear winner. A very honourable concept.”

Cleo Farman, managing director of the Odd Bar Group said: “We’ve noticed a big impact on the sales of the items with the Foodinate stickers. We’ve put them on a big sharing board, a steak and one of our burgers. Homelessness is a really big problem in Manchester, yet we see all these bars and restaurants around. I really liked the idea that we could take part.”

Follow Caroline’s progress @Foodinate and facebook.com/foodinate

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