Food Enterprise Workshop Finishes

After a successful run of 17 months, The Food Enterprise Workshop has now come to a close.  The free introduction to food business workshop, which started at the end of March 2012 helped over 160 people progress their food business ideas with the last workshop finishing on August 30th of this year.

Leicester Market created the Food Enterprise Workshop to facilitate food businesses starting up in the city including new traders at the market and Leicester Food Festivals.  After many weeks of hard work securing finance, Leicester Market was granted funding from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Working Neighbourhoods Fund.

The workshop included a theory day where individuals could learn about key aspects of starting a business such as marketing, business planning, legal requirements and food hygiene in a purpose built unit in the indoor market.  Day 2 was the ideas/test trade day, where participants had the chance to sample their food idea and get feedback from the general public in order to conduct market research.

Workshop Manager, Adam Piotrowski said, ‘The workshop has had really good response from individuals completing.  There seems to be a real lack of support specific to new food businesses locally and this was one of the main reasons we came up with the concept of the workshop.’

The Food Workshop also had the privilege of a visit from none other than Levi Roots, of Reggae Reggae Sauce fame in September of 2012 to give workshop participants a chat about starting up in the food business.

‘When Levi Roots came, it was very exciting for the workshop.  He was very down to earth and I think that he gave some really useful advice to our new food entrepreneurs including the importance of believing in yourself and your product as well as a strong 5 year business plan,’ said Adam Piotrowski. 

The workshop certainly satisfied it’s goals in terms of helping individuals in food business.  Many of the participants that completed the workshop went on the trade at Market Corner and at the various food festivals that take place at Leicester Market.  The Summer Food and Drink Festival 2012 saw 3 former participants trading and this number increased subsequently for the next two festivals to 4 and then 8. 

One of the indicators of success was how many businesses were created.  The project was set a target of 7 businesses created by the ERDF, but it seems The Food Enterprise Workshop has surpassed this.

‘My estimate is that we will be able to evidence 10 businesses created as a direct result of the project, so we are really happy with this result,’ said Adam Piotrowski.

Shaun Miles, Head of Markets said, ‘We are very keen to support new food businesses in Leicester and although the project has sadly come to an end, we are looking to do something similar in the future.’

Please check the Leicester Market Website for any future updates.

Background information

Starting your own business is exciting, rewarding and can be a good way to become financially independent.

However, it is a very big challenge, especially if you have never managed your own business before.

There are many people with good ideas interested in starting their own food business but sometimes they lack the knowledge or confidence to go ahead with it. These barriers faced by the new business owners are often the cause of failure.

The Food Enterprise Workshop came into being in 2011 when, after a successful application, it was granted funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the Working Neighbourhoods Fund.

The specific aim of this project is to provide support to people starting a food business.  The Food Enterprise Workshop aims to offer a helping hand to these people by providing professional experience, supervision, equipment and free ingredients to test trade their ideas.

These ideas will be encouraged, coached and mentored by the workshop supervisor which will help to give participants a taste of how their idea could function as a business.

By tackling these issues, the workshop will in turn help people to support themselves, which will help to stimulate business growth in Leicester.

The Food Enterprise Workshop aims to fulfil local economic regeneration strategies and initiatives to promote a more diverse food sector within Leicester.

Currently Leicester is facing an inequality in it’s Food Sector: the ethnic diversity of the population is not reflected in the diversity of food businesses. 

The Food Enterprise Workshop aims to be inclusive and supportive of ethnic minority groups, in order to help diversify Leicester’s food sector and more accurately represent the city’s cultural make-up.

In turn this should help to fuel Leicester’s economy as well
as its fast growing food sector.  By being based at the city’s historic market, we have the opportunity to fast track Food Enterprise Workshop participants onto a real trading environment at a discounted rate to enable them take the
next step into self-employment.

Leicester is at the heart of the East Midlands, which already exists as a local area that has a lot to offer in terms of traditional foods such as Red Leicester Cheese, Melton Mowbray Pork Pies and Walkers Crisps.

The Food Enterprise Workshop aims to build upon this rich culture by broadening the diversity of what’s on offer to better reflect a diverse and multicultural Leicester.

So whatever your background and abilities are, if you have an interest in food business, enrol now!  We have plenty of support on offer and are confident that this workshop will be a very helpful tool for new business starters.

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