Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Students get their teeth into Mexican food challenge

Students from Guapo, the winning team from Queen’s University, with John Blisard from Boojum

Belfast students have mex-imised their entrepreneurial abilities by getting involved in a fast-growing Mexican food business for charity.

The budding entrepreneurs from Queen's University and the University of Ulster took part in the Mex-imum Business Challenge at Boojum on Botanic Avenue, learning from the success of Boojum founders John and Karen Blisard.

The students took on the task of running the Mexican eaterie for four days. The teams had to promote and sell a new breakfast burrito and other breakfast items.

Mr Blisard said: "We were delighted to take part in the programme. The process was very exciting. It was a huge success and it gave students invaluable experience working first-hand with a local business. We launched a new product in our business and we raised money for a very worthwhile organisation."

The founders met in Philadelphia, where John Blisard introduced his Co Down-born girlfriend to Mexican food.

When they moved back to Belfast they couldn't find a Mexican which met the high standards of those back in the US so opened their own.

After the first Boojum proved a success on Botanic Avenue, where it opened in 2007, Mr and Mrs Blisard opened a second restaurant in the city centre.

Now they have opened a third in Dublin and expect the business to continue to expand.

The business challenge competitors received certificates at a ceremony in the City Hall.

Councillor Maire Hendron from the council's Development Committee said: "The Mex-imum Business Challenge is a wonderful initiative as it gives our would-be entrepreneurs the chance to gain unrivalled enterprise experience from running a real business and seeing the challenges and rewards that this brings."

All the takings from the challenge were donated to the Make-A-Wish charity in Belfast raising over £2,500. The winning team from Queen's University called Guapo raised £1,400 in one day.

The other three teams were Team Burrito and Booj-uums from the University of Ulster and Team Acorn, made up of students from QUB and the UU.