Eco-conscious takeaway entrepreneur takes away £2,500 top prize

Oanh Brophy

An environmentally-minded businesswoman who set up a reusable takeaway container service has won £2,500 at the Local Enterprise and Apprenticeship Platform (LEAP) annual awards.

Oanh Brophy's prize money will go towards her new start-up called Return Ware, which provides reusable containers to restaurants so that people can choose to have a waste free takeout and help eliminate single use food packaging.

Once used, the containers are returned, cleaned and redistributed.

Oanh was announced the winner at a recent awards ceremony at The View in Seaford, having been among more than 40 applicants for the LEAP start-up programme in 2021.

Funded by Lewes District Council and the EU under the Hot House initiative and delivered by Edeal, LEAP champions new enterprise within the Lewes district and guides local people through a training programme to help them start a new business.

Oanh beat fellow LEAP competitors to come out top in an online Dragon's Den style contest with the £500 runner up prize going to Victoria Holden who set up Chalk Productions earlier this year following redundancy. Her independent production company works with filmmaking professionals to tell innovative and real-life human stories.

Councillor Johnny Denis, Cabinet member for Customers and Communities, who was one of the judges, said: "Congratulations to all candidates on their presentations and particularly to Oanh and Victoria.

"It's so encouraging that the entrepreneurial spirit is still shining through strongly despite the difficulties posed by the pandemic over the past 18 months."

Councillor James MacCleary, Cabinet member for Regeneration and Prosperity, said: "It is a priority for this council to champion new business across Lewes district and one of the ways we do this is through our investment into LEAP.

"This programme and its highly skilled mentors have inspired hundreds of local people to turn their business dreams into reality, and in turn increasing the number of small businesses which are key for our district's economy."

The LEAP Start-Up Programme 2022 will be open for registration in November, however expressions of interest can now be registered by emailing The 2022 programme is open to anyone who lives in the Lewes district and is considering starting a new business.

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