Bramley man's fruit idea no joke

A Bramley man who sells apples may sound like a quaint joke, but for Jonathan Russell it is a serious business.

Mr Russell, 23, set up Fruitbox nine months ago and has since won repeat business with Leeds employers, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sky and hair-styling products firm ghd.

The Leeds Metropolitan University graduate came up with the idea after taking fruit into the office for his colleagues in his previous job in sales and marketing.

Last year, he was awarded a start-up loan and grant from the Princes Trust, which suggested he also make contact with Lee Wood, an enterprise ambassador at Sharing the Success, the title for Leeds Local Enterprise Growth Initiative, which was created using public money to help regenerate parts of Leeds. Mr Wood advised Mr Russell on how to start his business and introduced him to West Leeds Enterprise Centre, which offers business space and facilities for those looking to launch new ventures.

Now Mr Russell delivers 350kg of fresh fruit across Leeds every week.

The business will turn over 100,000 this year and he hopes to double this in year two.

He said: "I always wanted to run my own business but when I finished university, I thought I should get some experience first. "However, having studied business and marketing I had a good background, and once I'd spoken with the mentors at the Sharing the Success programme – it gave me the confidence to take the plunge and launch the company."