TWO young entrepreneurs ignored student nights out and squirrelled away their grant money to buy coffee beans.
When they finished their degrees the pair used their savings to set up their own mobile coffee business, The Barista.
Next week they will be bringing their coffee to the Great Yorkshire Show.
Sam Fletcher, 24, from Meanwood and Matthew Carr, 23, from Tadcaster met one another on a university placement year in Australia where they discovered a shared passion for business, the service industry and coffee.
When they got back to the UK, they already had a plan in place but needed to find funding and finish their degrees first.
Matthew explained how they managed to tackle that problem: “A normal student would be spending their student loans on beer, but we decided to spend ours on coffee beans. I think that keeping our beer consumption down probably helped us get our firsts as well.”
By juggling their university studies and the numerous jobs they took to start earning capital, while keeping the bulk of their student loans unspent, Matthew and Sam graduated in 2010 with First Class degrees in business and moved back to Leeds with just enough money to buy a coffee machine and a van to cart their equipment around from one event to another.
Sam said: “As business graduates it’s a fantastic experience to be working for these huge companies. We studied these brands at university and we wanted to emulate their success with The Barista and now we’re chatting to the CEO of Morrisons about our own business. It’s how a film student would feel sitting down with Spielberg.”
The recession has caused many graduates to have a hard time finding employment, and Matthew and Sam think that it’s a perfect opportunity for them to look at setting up their own businesses. Sam believes that young people should be using their natural energy and creativity to make something new: “if there aren’t enough jobs out there for graduates then they should really think about making up their own job.”
Looking to the future, The Barista boys see themselves with a fleet of mobile coffee machines under their command stretching out into other beverage markets.