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Issue 483, 5 June 2002

Spice and art make good business sense

Curry spices in a carton and art in public spaces are the winners of the Forward Group's business plan competition. The ideas were selected by the judges for business potential, market awareness and originality.

Fine art student Sophie Hammer's idea of an arts promotion agency – Plinth – moving more art into mainstream spaces, such as cinema entrances and café bars, will get a dry run with her final year exhibition, being held in the Light shopping centre.

Sophie said: "The competition's an amazing opportunity for students – there's not usually much support for original careers. It's great to get this kind of encouragemant to strike out on your own."

Rekha Parmar's company Kitchen Guru also claimed a prize of £3,500 and support from the Forward Group. She and her husband have developed cartons of pre-mixed spices to make cooking Indian food easy, from well-known dishes such as tikka marsala and korma madras to less familiar recipes like prawn in hot and sweet sauce.

Kitchen Guru plans to start production this month, selling the cartons through small specialist shops.

Rekha Parmar (pictured right) said: "I'm ecstatic about winning. I've long been asked for recipes and can now say 'try this', without all the hassle of finding separate ingredients."

The competition was organised by Leeds Innovations and judged by Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Alan Wilson, vice-chair of corporate finance at KPMG, William Nabarro, and chair of Forward Group, Ray Chamberlain. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on July 9.

For more information about Plinth contact Kitchen Guru can be contacted on 0113 266 9390.

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