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Acorn winners 2016: Joe Carnell, 23

01 July 2016
Acorn winners 2016: Joe Carnell, 23

Director, Ugot UK

Nominated by Leo Sefi, marketing, Ugot

Proudest moment "Opening the first Ugot in York station. It was no longer just an idea, it was a tangible, trading shop that was the first step in what has now become four stores."

Greatest inspiration "I believe failure is the greatest aid to learning and to be able to move forward and progress. I see mistakes as a necessary stepping stone, which means I'm not afraid to have to take a few steps back in order to jump to the next level."

Ambition "Establishing Ugot as a recognised brand on the high street is a top priority. Expansion to 30 stores in five years seems like a pretty good target to me."

Here is a young guy who acts on his principles. Joe Carnell opened his first Ugot in York station in October 2013, driven by frustration at the lack of fun, fast "on-the-go" food establishments that offer healthy, fresh and flavoursome food.

He was only 19 at the time, but success was brisk and he quickly made plans to open three more outlets, including in Harrogate and at Newcastle station.

Carnell's menu promises no preservatives or additives and attempts to revolutionise choices for people with intolerances, but he also strives to create a fun experience for customers, too. Service, for instance, is described as upbeat and "stellar". He also differentiates the brand through live music sessions with local artists. These are being filmed and sent to SBTV and other record agencies.

Despite his young age, Carnell is already used to awards. These include the Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the year at the 2015 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards; The Press Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2014; and The Gentleman's Journal Hottest Start Up 2014.

His £1.2m turnover company now employs 30 and sources 90% of its products from local suppliers. Carnell drives links with the community through giving talks in schools to encourage children to eat healthily. He also gives talks to other entrepreneurs at events such as Welcome to Yorkshire and the Food For Life Partnership.

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