Wednesday, August 13, 2014

News: Sweet support for Cocoa Chic

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A young entrepreneur from Rotherham who has experienced sustained growth since launching her chocolate manufacturing business says it's important that startups get the right support in the early stages of launching a new business.

Libby Carl (29) from Wickersley (pictured, left) launched Cocoa Chic two years ago with help from UK Steel Enterprise and a grant from its Kickstart Fund, as well as business planning support from Rotherham Youth Enterprise.

Libby, who always knew that she'd open her own business one day, said: "It's been very hard running a new business as a sole trader for the last two years but the support I had at the start was critical. The grant I got from UK Steel was very useful and the help I got from Rotherham Youth Enterprise in finding me subsidised premises was critical; without both of them I don't think I would be here today."

Two years on from launching the business that makes artisan chocolates for special occasions Libby has expanded the business to include collaborations with Sheffield food manufacturers, chocolate making workshops in schools and colleges as well as teaming up with other businesses for special complementary events. The latest venture sees Libby supplying chocolate creations to a Rotherham coffee shop.

Cocoa Chic is the only chocolate manufacturer and one of only a very small number of food manufacturers to have been awarded the Made in Sheffield Mark; a standard that recognises an ongoing commitment to quality and excellence in manufacturing by companies in the Sheffield city region.

Hayley Middlebrook, regional secretary for UK Steel Enterprise, said: "Libby's passion for what she does is obvious and underpins all she does with Cocoa Chic. She's taken the business in new directions and creates part-time jobs at peak times such as Christmas. She has vision and drive and sets a brilliant example for other aspiring entrepreneurs."

Applicants to the Kickstart Fund can get support from Rotherham Investment & Development Office (RiDO) and Rotherham Youth Enterprise to help them with business planning and mentoring through the early stages of running the business. UK Steel Enterprise has helped over 200 people start a business in Rotherham since 2009.

Jackie Frost, manager of Rotherham Youth Enterprise, said: "Libby is a great role model for what can be achieved with hard work and determination. It's nice to hear her say how much we helped her in the early days. We are delighted she is doing so well and look forward to providing further support as her business goes from strength to strength."

Cocoa Chic website
UK Steel Enterprise website

Images: UK Steel Enterprise

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