University of East London graduate Mahyar Rahmantalab is looking to hook up local food producers with influential chefs. And his mission has moved a step closer with a £20,000 investment package for his company Pomegranate.
Mahyar won at Dragons’ Den style pitch at Level39 in Canary Wharf on Wednesday, winning over judges and taking top prize in UEL’s 11th E-Factor contest. He described the win as “unbelievable” and “overwhelming” adding: “The best thing about E-Factor was that it allowed me to stress-test my idea in this incubator. Now I’m going to go ahead and make my business happen.”
Although he graduated with a degree in music industry management, Mahyer has worked in restaurants for much of his life and his plan is for a digital platform to bring together specialist fruit and veg producers and niche chefs.
Getting people together was a theme of the finalists. Sofiri Stewart’s Mygigsolutions looked to link up musicians and events organisers while Christopher Heath and Idans Zalmansons’ The Sick 6 aimed to bring new music and music obsessives together.
The other two finalists targeted the fitness and well-being sector with Julian Dominque’s Fit-2-Work receiving a £6,000 package in second place.
The £20,000 start-up package prize includes a mix of cash and mentoring as well as a tenancy at the University’s Knowledge Dock Business and Innovation Centre, based at the Royal Docks.
UEL Enterprise team member Timothy Isle said: “Receiving money is always important for a business but the support they get through our incubation process is of much more value.
“We’ve given a lot of extra support to the participants in this year’s process, including taking them through a series of workshops, a boot camp, a pitching workshop and a month of individualised mentoring.”