An entrepreneur who launched her own juice company after trying to heal her seriously ill boyfriend has won a prestigious business award.
Natalie Evans was crowned the winner of the 2014 Young Business Start Up Talent at a swanky awards evening at Brighton Racecourse on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old told judges in the Dragon's Den style finals how she developed her range of juices after her boyfriend fell seriously ill on holiday in 2010.
The resulting business, 42juice, is now taking orders from across the South East and counts a host of celebrities as regular customers.
She said: “I can't believe it, it was an amazing night.
“I'm passionate about the product and I believe in it, I think that's the key. Winning the competition has provided so many fantastic opportunities to move forward and I can't wait to get started.”
The inspiration for the business dates back to a trip to Thailand with her boyfriend, Gus Golding.
During the holiday of a lifetime, he started to cough up blood before slipping into a coma.
Their travel insurance company refused to pay his medical bills and it was left to family and friends, along with the help of Argus readers, to raise the money to fly him home.
He was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease and was seriously ill in hospital for several months.
During that time, Miss Evans, who lives in Brighton, became interested in how healthy eating could fuel recovery.
When her boyfriend's health rapidly improved following a change of diet, she decided she would pursue a career in nutrition and started making and selling her own juices.
She added: “It was a terrible time and he was really ill but it was important something positive came out of it all.
“Gus is not fully recovered but he is much better and can live a normal life. He's very proud of me.”
Miss Evans bought herself a professional juicer, built a website, produced her own branding and started selling her juices.
In just a few short months she built up a loyal following including a number of celebrities.
She even provided an Oscar nominated actor with a series of juices ahead of the Hollywood awards ceremony in February.
Her prize, which is worth more than £50,000, includes membership to Sussex County Cricket Club's Boundary Rooms, legal advice from Mayo Wynne Baxter, PR work from Media Words Waves and design work from Creative Pod.
She added: “The next step is to find premises in Brighton and develop the juices so I can start stocking them in shops and cafes.”
For more details and to order visit: www.42juice.co.uk.