Welcome > Blog > Entrepreneurship > Celebration of Enterprise fit for a Lord
20th June, 2016
Cavendish Enterprise partners, three entrepreneurial Start & Grow clients, and a room full of guests came together at the House of Lords to celebrate the success achieved by businesses who have benefitted from government funded business support, advice and training.
With the kind permission of Lord Wei of Shoreditch, who is himself an entrepreneur, the guest list of 100 influential and passionate supporters of enterprise heard the start-up journey taken by three Start & Grow clients.
Start & Grow entrepreneurs (left to right) : Cemal Ezel (Change Please CIC), Dr Craig Rose, (Seaweed & Co), and Patience Chipaumire-Oyeniran, (Panashe Home Care Services).
Cemal Ezel saw a business opportunity that would also give something back to the community. In Nov 2015 he set up Change Please. With his previous experience of working with a coffee roasting social enterprise company, Cemal saw there was an opportunity to work with homeless people to give them a clear way forward. The company provides barista coffee carts operated by homeless individuals. There are currently 8 coffee carts operating around London and employs 11 homeless individuals. Change Please pays the London Living Wage and arranges housing for its workers. Whilst working with the company, employees can build their skills base and eventually move on in their career. After six months, they are moved into full time employment with one of the organisation’s partners. Cemal’s future plans suggest that up to 50 additional jobs will be created and £500,000 investment secured as he hopes to expand into new regions and potentially other sectors.
Cemal needed advice and guidance on sourcing the appropriate grants and putting together successful applications for future expansion which he received through Start & Grow with Enterprise for London. The programme has also guided Cemal in areas where he needs to employ, such as Operations Manager, looking at job descriptions and employee handbooks. “My advisor has been a sounding board for ideas and challenges.” said Cemal. “I hope that the support will enable me to grow the business in a much more efficient way.”
“I would have been able to start the business because the of the backing from other companies, but the benefits of research and assistance with grants available through the Start & Grow programme will have a positive impact on outcomes.” said Cemal.
Seaweed & Co has launched offering seaweed ingredients for the food and nutrition industries, using high quality seaweed sustainably wild harvested in the Scottish Outer Hebrides. The business has been launched by seaweed expert, Dr Craig Rose, who has lived and worked in the North East since moving from his native Leeds to attend Newcastle University over 15 years ago, and is on track to make seaweed a food of the future thanks to a £25,000 investment from Virgin StartUp, and assistance from TEDCO Business Support through the Start & Grow programme.
Based in North Shields, Seaweed & Co is now looking to capitalise on the growing popularity of seaweed as a ‘superfood’ ingredient, and boost sales within the UK and international food and nutrition industries.
Dr Rose, Managing Director of Seaweed & Co. said: “Although a central ingredient in the diet of Asian countries for millennia, seaweed is a forgotten food in the West, and has only recently been re-discovered for its extraordinary nutritional benefits. I was always aware of the positive impact seaweed can have on health, and as a sustainable natural resource through my training as a marine biologist.”
Seaweed contains all the vitamin groups and minerals, and can be used as a natural flavour enhancer to replace salt in the food manufacturing process. Just even a tiny amount of seaweed packs a strong nutritional punch and research has suggested it can help with weight management, and due to its natural iodine levels, can contribute to normal cognitive function and metabolism.
Dr Rose continues: “The market for seaweed in the UK is still relatively new but thanks to support from high profile figures such as Jamie Oliver, who champions the benefits of adding more seaweed to your diet extensively in his new Superfood TV show, seaweed has huge potential for growth. It is not only the nutritional benefits of seaweed which make it desirable as part of a healthy diet, but it is also presents a valuable alternative to food manufacturers as a natural salt replacement in everyday foods.
“Thanks to investment from Virgin StartUp and the guidance of TEDCO Business Support, we are on track for a successful first year and have three UK distributors on board to sell our product to the food and nutrition industry. Food containing Seaweed & Co sourced seaweed is now stocked in all of the major UK supermarkets.”
The investment has been used to fund a highly innovative system for processing the seaweed in Scotland to produce larger volumes of high quality seaweed through a more gentle and scalable approach . The system, and the factory in which it operates, is one of the most sophisticated seaweed production facilities in the UK.
Seaweed & Co. is also working in partnership with Durham University on a research project to develop sources of seaweed production near Lynemouth. Dr Rose continues: “Our order book is looking strong for the next 12 months and we are currently working to develop more seaweed based products for the health and nutrition industry. However, for now, our focus is on growing our B2B market share as Seaweed & Co.’s accredited quality seaweed gains momentum with food manufacturers and the health supplement industry.”
Patience Chipaumire-Oyeniran has just opened the doors to her very own care agency in Leicester, Panashe Home Care Services, so elderly people can enjoy a high standard of comfortable care in their own homes.
Thanks to NBV Enterprise Solutions, Patience is also running a consultancy to advise budding care home owners on how to start up their own agencies. “NBV have made a real difference to me and I was pleasantly surprised to find them. Without their support, I would have struggled to set up my own business.“ said Patience.
Patience left her native Zimbabwe and came to the UK in 1990, training as a registered nurse and working in care homes before turning her hand to managing them. She has recruited four members of staff and one driver, and has advised seven budding care home owners on how to set up their own agency.
Patience said: “I’m really happy that I can finally make a difference to someone’s life by opening Panashe Home Care Services. I believe people should not have to leave the comfort of their own homes due to old age and neither should they have to change their little ways to fit into the care system. Instead the care system should change its ways to fit with their lives.
“I believe in our motto, ‘there is no place like home’ and I’m proud that I stand by this in everything I do.” said Patience.
With an expert panel on hand comprising David Petrie (ICAEW), Peter Holbrook (SEUK), Nick Underhill (Crowdfunder), Sarah Mintey (Developing Experts), and Peter Ibbetson (JournoLink), guests and entrepreneurs alike were able to access a wealth of start-up advice.
Although the sun didn’t shine across the Thames that day a lot of light was thrown on how to overcome some of the typical hurdles businesses might face on their start-up business journey. A big thank you from Cavendish Enterprise to all those who took part and shared their knowledge and experiences.
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Written by Davina Young, Marketing Manager, Cavendish