Hot on the heels of the Channel 4 series ‘A Cotswold Farmshop’, four budding food entrepreneurs from Gloucester who took part in the ‘Limited Edition’ business skills course today saw the product they created from scratch go on sale at the award-winning Gloucester Services Farmshops.
The ‘Limited Edition’ course – a unique collaboration between Gloucester Services, Gloucestershire Gateway Trust and Hobbs House Bakery – was created to give aspiring food producers from Gloucestershire the opportunity to learn the end-to-end business skills needed to launch a product and create something real that would go on sale.
The only brief was to create a bakery product to join the enticing bread table that welcomes M5 motorway travellers with fresh local produce. After carrying out product research and visiting Hobbs House Bakery for an insight to production, the group began to learn how to work up their ideas including costings, pricing strategies and marketing. Three ideas were pitched to a panel of judges and the winning recipe was a unique Milk Loaf with Fenugreek.
The team’s inspiration for a milk loaf stemmed from childhood memories of light and fluffy freshly baked bread, adding fenugreek for its health benefits and to acknowledge the diversity of Gloucester, and the team themselves. Course participants Wanja and Norma grew up eating milk loaf in Kenya, whilst Ashwin came up with the idea of adding Fenugreek which is well known in his native India for its health benefits.
Originally from the Philippines, the fourth participant on the course Viva O’Flynn moved to the UK in 2018 and started her own business. Viva said:
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to develop my business skills for free, it has been inspiring and life changing. I have been to Gloucester Services many times and imagined what it would be like to have my products sold there. Taking part in the Limited Edition course has helped me to understand what buyers are looking for and I have learnt so much from the tutor and the other participants. I wish more people could experience this course.”
Hobbs House Bakery made the product a reality and the Milk Loaf with Fenugreek is now on sale and can be found on the bread table at the front of the Farmshops, alongside a QR code to allow customers to find out more about the unique product.
This Limited Edition course was funded by Adult Education in Gloucestershire, part of Gloucestershire County Council, through the national Multiply adult numeracy programme, and delivered by local social enterprise The Engine Room CIC.
Charlie Marwood, Top Cog at The Engine Room which is based in Dursley, said:
“Working with a small group of enthusiastic entrepreneurs enabled us to focus on the principles behind good business practice. The team developed product ideas, carried out research, learnt about production techniques and built budgets to support everything from marketing, pricing strategy, cost analysis, profit margins and potential discounting to bring a successful new product to Gloucester Services Farmshop. The course has delivered skills, growth, confidence, ambition and friendships. I am particularly grateful for the enthusiasm and hard work of all involved. A fabulous course to be involved with – thank you all.”
Jason Dunsford, Head of Neighbourhood Learning and Work at Gloucestershire Gateway Trust said:
“In addition to reinvesting up to 3p in every £1 spent at Gloucester Services in our communities, we are passionate about connecting local people to the business through jobs, creative opportunities and as suppliers. This course was about improving business maths and marketing skills but also to raise the confidence of people looking to take that next big step to start or develop their business idea. We are committed to finding and nurturing talent from our local communities and excited to see what the future holds for this course’s participants.”
Now they’re scone
Now they’re scone
The first Limited Edition course which ran at the end of last year saw participants from the GEM Project create the ‘GEM Scones’, which celebrated local produce with the use of local apples and Double Gloucester cheese in the ingredients.
The GEM Scones were on sale as a Limited Edition product in the Gloucester Services Farmshop during November and December and sold over 600 packs.
Find out more about the Limited Edition course and watch our short film.