Lauren Le Franc, a Jamaican entrepreneur residing in the United Kingdom has won a graduate award from City University of London to expand her already established coffee business, J.A. Island Roasters.As part of her award package Le Franc also secured a location for her business at the university’s Cass Business School, and she is looking at commencing operations in the upcoming weeks. Le Franc, a qualified barrister of England and Wales who first set up the company in Jamaica in 2011 while completing her legal education, has been focused on selling roasted coffee through J.A. Island Roasters under the brand True Blue 100 per cent Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. With this award she is looking forward to importing organic and non-organic Jamaican green beans to the U.K. from the world-famous Blue Mountains. She said the award package also covers operational costs, and comes with mentorship and support from the University. “I’m elated to have such an amazing opportunity to expand my business and to take brand Jamaica a step further into the spotlight,” shared Le Franc. “I already have a distributor who has been contracted to take all my organic coffee, I look forward to continuing the work with the Coffee Industry Board on this venture and I am heading into business with an optimistic mindset and a winning attitude.” In 2014, J.A. Island Roasters received approval from the Certification of Environmental Standards (CERES) - an international organization which offers certification for organic farming and food processing, to maintain good practices in the food industry. Then, she received approval from the Coffee Industry Board to export organic certified Jamaican Blue Mountain green bean coffee. Although she found favour for her roasted coffee in the Asian market, she was in search of additional opportunities for development when she came across the City University of London’s Entrepreneur Graduate Scheme competition in 2016, and her big break came when she decided to participate. Le Franc, along with 30 other competitors, delivered a business pitch to a panel of judges on a platform similar to reality shows such as Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank. Her practical presentation led to her victory in the competition, which has now allowed her to set up the London branch of her offices and receive support from the university and interested investors.