As a recent graduate of Music, Multimedia and Electronics (from the School of Electronics and Electrical Engineering) Shaun Gaisie is continuing to grow the business he established as an undergraduate at the University of Leeds.
What started as a love of coffee between two baristas working in the students' union, and a desire to give something back to society Shaun and his business partner Justin Eniola, now run Pump N Grind; a micro coffee roasting business in Yorkshire.
Having an entrepreneurial mind, Shaun was constantly thinking up ideas for new businesses; however, coffee, with the initial idea of a coffee shop, was the first idea he detailed; and encouraged by friends and tutor, put forward an application for a SPARKs Enterprise Scholarship.
Attending the SPARK Bootcamp was a hugely successful weekend; meeting like-minded people, making connections and the knowledge provided gave me the confidence boost I needed to move forward with my idea, he said.
Whilst working in the Union and developing his idea, Shaun did a lot of research and attended festivals, stirring up his interest in coffee. Through this, and working with the SPARK team, decided to adapt his idea and go forward with coffee roasting; a route that has grown very organically and been manageable alongside his university studies.
Brian [Baillie] has been so encouraging, especially in my final year from when my idea was just bullet points on a piece of paper; helping to formalise it into a working business plan, connecting me with the right people, everything we needed to get started and moving forward.
Pump N Grind now have links with St Georges Crypt: a charity for the homeless, disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Leeds, donating 20% of their profits, and all coffee excess is given to the Real Junk Food project in Armley, who also now host Pump N Grind in their pay as you feel café.
"If we were without the great support from the University, I believe our ideas would have stagnated and our business progressions would not be anywhere close to where they are now. I would never have thought about going down the route of coffee roasting, which I love."
Shaun still has plans to open coffee shops in the future, focusing in student areas, and aims to highlight the absence of knowledge; educating communities about why they supply the coffee they do, ensuring everyone involved in the process gets a fair wage, and explaining the actual process; the number of hands it goes through to create the most popular drink in the world.