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.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much does the workshop cost? Is it really free?  It seems too good to be true.

Yes, the course is free. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Working Neighbourhood Fund as a means to increase participants’ employability and help to start new businesses. The delivery of basic business skills is one of the main aims for the project.

2. Is this a cookery course?

No, the course is designed to be focused on food business. You should already have the ability to prepare your food idea. Some aspects will work with and reflect cooking practices, but this is not the intention of the workshop.

3. Is this a food hygiene course?

No, food hygiene will be incorporated into the workshop but this is not the purpose of the workshop.

4. What is the Food Enterprise Workshop?

It is an intensive introduction to basic food business where you will receive theoretical and practical knowledge about starting a food business. See the what to expect page for more information.

5. I was never very good with reading/writing/maths or in school. Can I still come on the workshop?

Yes, you can. There are no educational requirements for the workshop, which has been specially designed to be flexible and inclusive. The material is presented in a straight forward manner that is meant to be accessible to all levels of education.

6. English is not my first language and I am not very good with my reading and writing skills.
Can I still come on the workshop?

Yes, you can still come on workshop. Our resources are available in a multi-language format. Just let us know in advance if you think you might require the materials in another language or if you have any other access issues.

7. How do I know if I am eligible for the workshop?

The eligibility requirements are:

  1. You must be a resident of Leicester City.
  2. You must be at least 18 years old by your first day of the workshop.
  3. You must be an individual looking to start a food business (this is not a business support workshop and material is intended for the level of pre start up support).
  4. You must have a genuine love for food and the ability to prepare and cook your food idea without assistance.

8. I have a disability; can I still come on the workshop?

Yes, our workshop has wheelchair access and we strive to be flexible with our participants. If you are unsure about how the workshop will accommodate your personal circumstances, please give us a ring to discuss the matter further.

9. Due to personal circumstances I will not be able to attend the whole day. Can I still come on the workshop?

It is our intention to be inclusive and flexible with our arrangements. However, we do need to make sure that you attend for a sufficient time so that we can ensure that you are able to get through the material and to conduct the ideas testing. If this presents a problem for you, please contact us so we can try and work out an arrangement.

10. Is the workshop for anyone or just unemployed people?

The workshop is for everyone, whether or not you have a job. The only stipulation is that you are an individual at least 18 years old, that lives in Leicester City and are interested in starting a food business as well as having a passion for food.

11. I have a full time job and will not be able to make it during the weekdays.
Is there any evening/weekend courses available?

At the moment we do not have any weekend/evening courses scheduled. However, if there is enough of a demand, we will do our best to accommodate the participant. The best thing to do is give us a ring and we can discuss options further.

12. Will it affect my jobseeker benefit?

Your job seekers benefits should not be affected by attending the Food Enterprise Workshop. However, it depends on personal circumstances, so please check with your jobcentre advisor.

13. Will I receive a qualification?

You will not receive a nationally accredited qualification but will receive sound theoretical and practical knowledge. Upon completion, the workshop coach will sign off your workbook to support your achievement.

14. When does the workshop run?

The workshop will take place on weekdays between the hours of 9 – 4 Please ring for more details.

Participants are intended to complete both days in the same week and the workshop will be running through to June of 2013.

15. Where is the workshop?

The workshop unit is in the Leicester Indoor Market food hall on the ground floor. This is where the meat, cheese and fish traders are located. If you aren’t sure of these details, you can visit the Where We Are page on our website.

16. What is the Ideas/test trade idea?

How the ideas/test trade day will work is largely dependent on the workshop participant and their idea. Our intention is for you to receive feedback from producing/presenting your food idea to the general public in one of the areas of Leicester Market (indoor, outdoor or market corner). This presents a unique and positive opportunity for the participant essentially to see the potential of their idea before they commit to buying catering equipment, registering their business and all of the other tasks that must be done when starting your own business.

17. What about the free ingredients? How much will I get?

You will have access to our larder and will be able to purchase a modest amount of fresh ingredients in order to conduct your ideas/test trade. The amount of ingredients is dependent upon the needs of your food product, test trade idea and is flexible. The amount that you can get is limited, but the workshop coach will work with you to make sure you have sufficient ingredients for your ideas testing.

18. What if I don’t have an idea for test trading?

This workshop is designed for people who have an idea that they would like to test to see if it is worthwhile to trade. You do not have to be 100% sure of what you want to do when you walk in on the morning of Day 1. However, in order for Day 2 to run smoothly, you will need to commit to a food idea before the planning section in the afternoon of Day 1. It should be easier to make a decision once you have had a chance to participate in the workshop during our morning session and the workshop mentor will be able to discuss your options with you.

19. What kind of start-up advice support is available after the workshop is complete?

You will have the opportunity to speak to a business coach about ways to develop your idea and what you can do after the workshop.

20. How do I enrol for the course?
Enrolling is easy and can be done in either of the 2 following ways:
  1. Online - just click on the ‘enrol now’ page where you will have the option to complete the form and send it back online or print it out and post it.
  2. Telephone- you can ring to request an enrolment form which we can send to you and you can either post it or drop it in by hand.

Please visit our Where We Are page for our address and how to get to the workshop and our enrolment page to enrol now.

21. How will I know whether my booking has been successful?

When you have filled out the enrolment form, you will be contacted either by phone, post or email with agreed workshop days.

22. Do I need to bring anything on the day?

We don’t provide lunch so bring a pack up or money to buy food. Also, don’t forget your cooking skills! You must be ready to cook and prepare your food idea without assistance.

23. What if I can’t make it on the day that I am supposed to be there?

If you know in advance that you will not be able to attend, please notify us as early as possible. If we know early enough, we can reschedule someone in your place to make the best use of our resources. If you cannot attend the workshop due to unforeseen circumstances then please contact us at the earliest possibility so that we can arrange for you to attend at a later date. Please note, if you do not attend the workshop and it is not due to unforeseen circumstances, you could be refused entry in the future. We understand that everyone has their own personal situations to deal with but in order to make the best use of our resources we need to minimize the amount of unexpected absences.

24. I don’t live in Leicester. Is there any other place that I can attend the workshop?

Unfortunately the workshop is only currently available to residents of Leicester city area as it is a pilot scheme. However, depending on the success of the pilot scheme, there is a possibility that it will be made available in other locations.

If you have any other queries or would like to discuss anything about the workshop, please don’t hesitate to contact Adam Piotrowski, who would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Adam’s details can be found on the Contacts page.

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