Cheshire-based Sweet Nothing Snacks Ltd has seen a 100 percent increase in turnover, thanks to a support package from Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme.
Launching in 2015, Sweet Nothings Snacks developed a range of completely natural and unique flapjack bites, using apples to replace processed sugars, as well as delivering other very strong “free-from” credentials and a long shelf-life for its retail customers.
Founder Stuart Andrew says using fruit as a natural sweetener is healthier as it delivers slow burning nutrition for energy and it is this drive for natural nutrition and taste, coupled with support from the Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme, which has seen the business double its turnover in the past 12 months.
Delivered by the University of Chester, the Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme provides fully funded support to entrepreneurs and SMEs, with Stuart taking advantage of marketing and digital marketing advice to help grow his business.
Stuart Andrew said “The knowledge we have gained has enabled us to develop our expertise into marketing areas vital to the future development of our venture.”
Alongside the ERDF-funded Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme, Sweet Nothings Snacks benefited from the University of Chester’s NoWFOOD Centre, a specialist facility for food and drink businesses to research, develop and test their products before certification and taking them to market.
NoWFOOD’s sensory unit helped Stuart and his team gain an understanding of a much greater growth potential for his business, by gaining an insight into customer opinions.
With 10 cubicles and a technical preparation room that mimics a domestic kitchen, NoWFOOD, allowed them to complete sensory tasting analysis with impartial participants to understand how his products compare with competitor snacks.
Feeding back on appearance, flavour, texture and overall liking, the results indicated that their snacks would be really well received in the market, encouraging Stuart to take his business to the next level.
Stuart said: “The support from NoWFOOD has enabled me to reach a commercial planning stage that would normally be impossible for a small business with limited financial resources. The staff at NoWFOOD are extremely proactive and have helped me move forward.”
The University of Chester is a proud delivery partner of the ERDF funded Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme which aims to deliver 12 hours of business support to entrepreneurs and start-ups in the region.
As well as boosting turnover, support from the University of Chester has helped Sweet Nothing Snacks Ltd achieve a Highly Commended Best Free From Product award from Food Management Today for its lime + coconut flapjack.
The Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme manages the delivery of £2.7m of European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) to support small businesses in the region on everything from funding and investment to employment and the law and sales and marketing.
A key delivery partner, the University of Chester offers fully funded support through bespoke one-to-one sessions, workshops and networking opportunities, as well as opening doors to R&D, prototyping and access to specialist facilities.