Two Lancaster graduates who have started their own street food business have been recognised with the Duke of York Young Entrepreneur award.
Supawadee Pongwisaitat (Jing) and Awika Lertcharoensuk (Beam), who are both graduates from Lancaster University’s MSc Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Practice Programme, received the award from the Duke of York himself at a special ceremony at the University of Huddersfield.
Their business, called ‘Two Thai’, offers visitors to Lancaster’s Market Square a simple healthy menu based on secret family recipes from Jing’s grandparents – ensuring an authentic, and unique eating experience at an affordable price.
The business partners consider this to be the first step towards fulfilling their ambition to grow into the UK’s leading Thai street-food franchise – in respect to their vision of revolutionising the Thai food industry in the UK.
Jing and Beam said: “We are so honoured to have received the award from His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. This means a lot to us as international graduates. As we have gone through many challenges, we have learnt that as long as we don’t give up on our dreams and work hard for it, then those dreams will not give up on us.”
The pair were nominated for the award by Lancaster University’s Enterprise Team – which supports the entrepreneurial culture at the University.
Simon Harrison, from the Lancaster University Enterprise Team, said: “Our international graduates have to jump through a lot of hoops to register businesses in the UK but Jing and Beam embraced this challenge with optimism, enthusiasm and impressive resolve. They recognise that even the most successful high-street food chains started with a single outlet, but that they needed to be truly excellent to win hearts, minds and stomachs.”
Two Thai was registered in the UK via the T1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa scheme. The window of applications for this scheme for undergraduates is currently open and the Lancaster University Enterprise Team can help students with the process.
The pair also received support through the Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU) Food Enterprise scheme.