East Midlands food and drink businesses thriving thanks to First Enterprise funding boost

Business support provider First Enterprise has given an essential funding boost to more start-ups and growing businesses than ever in the East Midlands over the past three months.

The not for profit organisation, which provides responsible loans and business advice, has given out £998,475 in much needed cash to 58 fledging companies and growing organisations across the region, since April 1 this year. The funding has come via its Enterprise Loans East Midlands funding streams.

The businesses which have benefitted are primarily within the food and drink sector. First Enterprise has a strong history of helping food and drink retailers to thrive. Earlier this year, four out of the five businesses it had previously supported and put forward for the 2017 Nottingham Post Food and Drink Awards were shortlisted, including Junkyard in Bridlesmith Walk, run by Nigel Garlick and Sam Dean, which won Best Drink’s Venue.

Entrepreneurial duo Nigel and Sam, who run Junkbars Ltd, received £50,000 worth of loans from First Enterprise to launch Junkyard, a specialist craft beer bar, and their latest venture the Herbert Kilpin Public House in Nottingham – which opened last year.

Herbert Kilpin was named after founder of Italian football club A.C Milan who hails from Nottingham. It’s the third pub to be set up by the pair who also run popular cocktail bar Boilermarker in Nottingham’s Lace Market.

Nigel said: “We’ve always found First Enterprise to be really supportive and the success of our venues wouldn’t have been possible without its financial backing.”

Another Nottingham company to have benefitted from First Enterprise’s support is the Treat Kitchen, which was shortlisted for growth in the 2016 Citi Micro Entrepreneurship Awards. It received £25,000 from the organisation to help it achieve strategic growth.

Set up by entrepreneurial couple Jess and Martin Barnett in 2014, The Treat Kitchen is an independent, family run confectionary retailer offering beautifully packaged, high quality confectionary. Neil Millington, loan fund manager at First Enterprise, said: “Jess and Martin are a great inspiration for other entrepreneurs and those looking to follow their career dreams.

“In the short space of about three years their business has grown from one to five stores and has products available across hundreds of locations due to their wholesale arm. They also now employ 42 full and part time staff – a brilliant achievement.”

The Incredible Bakery Company, in Northamptonshire, received a loan of £20,000 from First Enterprise last month to help it expand. The bakery was set up by Valeria and James Turner after they discovered their son Leon was affected by multiple food allergies and spotted a gap in the market for tasty, allergen free produce. As a result all their produce is coeliac and vegan friendly as well as being free from gluten, dairy, eggs and soya.

Since launching, the bakery has received multiple awards and now sells its products across the country to caterers, food outlets and specialist retailers.

Neil added: “We are passionate about helping to grow businesses and support entrepreneurs. We know there are many people out there that just need a financial boost to enable their businesses to develop and flourish and we want them to know that we are here and ready to help. “The last few months have been record breaking for us and we are looking forward to an exciting year ahead. It is more apparent than ever that Midlands businesses need our support to flourish. Whether they need funding and advice or help getting started or investing in new premises or equipment, we are here to support them.”

For more details about First Enterprise visit or call 0115 942 3772.