Education reporter Katie Knass meets one of the enterprising University of Hull graduates teaching Hull schoolchildren to run franchises of their healthy drinks business, Xing Smoothies
They started out with a mobile smoothie cart in Hull city centre. Six years later, Phil Benson and Simon Long, of Xing Smoothies, are the owners of a hugely successful company, with a bar in one of York's most desirable streets.
But the duo, both University of Hull graduates, have taken their business further and are reaching out to youngsters to teach them entrepreneurial skills of their own.
Their experience and drive is helping schoolchildren across the country to set up their own franchises of Xing while also learning business skills in a real business environment.
The schools programme is run by Mr Benson, who was a pupil at Hallgate School in Cottingham before moving to St Mary's College, in Cranbrook Avenue.
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Opting to study international business at the University of Hull was the decision that would lead him and Mr Long on the route to smoothie success.
"I studied in Wilmington Carolina for a year as part of my degree," said Mr Benson. "It was a different perspective out there and that is where the idea came from."
It was his US sojourn that inspired Mr Benson to set up on his own – something that he says had not crossed his mind before.
While out there, he happened across a boom product that he felt he could carve a niche for in the UK.
"In the US at the time, smoothies were massive," said Mr Benson.
"The idea of having a smoothie bar where you could pick your own fruit was an interesting concept.
"And it gave people something tasty and healthy at the same time."
After returning from the US, the duo began researching a business model.
"We bought a mobile unit," said Mr Benson. "We did a lot of events around the city centre. It was a great way to test the market."
They then got permission to set up at the university's sports and fitness centre, which would be their first real bar.
The duo then set up in the main students' union, where they traded for four years.
Mr Benson said: "Initially we were looking at growing through university franchises. But we quickly decided that was not the best way for us to grow, so we established our first high street bar in York in 2009."
The juice bar has gone from strength to strength.
Nestled in one of the most desirable streets in York city centre, The Shambles, it has now expanded to also serve healthy fast food using only quality ingredients.
But the owners wanted to do more.
"We started to think about enterprise," said Mr Benson.
"We did quite a lot of work with schools, doing talks and classes on enterprise, as well as healthy eating.
"We then set up a pilot bar in Archbishop Sentamu Academy. The school was really supportive of the idea.
"We were able to teach employment and enterprise skills using the smoothie bar model."
The school bar not only provided a learning curve for the students, but also for Mr Benson.
He points to that early success as the catalyst that has seen Xing Smoothies' school bars take off.
By the end of March, there will be nine Xing Smoothie bars running in schools across the country.
"We are passionate about promoting enterprise in schools," said Mr Benson.
"This enterprise with schools is great for us because we want to raise aspirations."
Being from Hull, it was important to Mr Benson that the smoothie bar in schools concept was something that would benefit pupils and help raise aspirations in the city.
"We wanted to look at how we could get youngsters to start thinking about enterprise – this is a great way for them to put that in practice," said Mr Benson.
"It is great to go in and talk to pupils, but it is great to be able to do something that is beneficial and is offering real-life employment skills."
The school smoothie bars are run as real businesses with real profits.
"That is the best way of learning for young people – to do it themselves," said Mr Benson.
"It also gives them the confidence to go out there and do things for themselves in the future.
"The whole model is based on raising aspirations and creating a future generation of entrepreneurs."
Mr Benson now dedicates about half his time to working with schools and other enterprise organisations.
It is something that he says both he and his business partner believe is important.
"Running a business is not for everyone," he said. "But there are people who might be written off who get no qualifications, yet who could end up being massively successful. You hear of so many people like this.
"If we can give one or two young people that spark that will mean they can go on in the future and become successful, then it's worth it."
Six years after buying their first smoothie cart, not only is Xing Smoothies flourishing, but it is giving back to the next generation.
"When you start a business it is a blank sheet of paper," said Mr Benson.
"Anything you have starts with an idea, which turns into potential.
"Seeing Xing now being run in schools is amazing for me.
"While I'm sat at my desk, I'm thinking there are young people out there selling smoothies.
"That is an amazing feeling and that is what gives me the most satisfaction."