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Business focus leads to expansion of niche food producer

Gourmegg creates handmade Scotch eggs with an emphasis on quality ingredients and local provenance. The 3-year-old Frodsham-based business is owned by Andrew Price, who having established his brand, is expanding to offer more products such as the Italian snack arancini and a range of condiments.

Seeking direction

Although the business was up and running, Andrew felt that it needed greater direction. Gourmegg also lacked the specialist industry knowledge which was essential for it to develop. Andrew joined the Business Growth Programme (BGP) to increase his knowledge of business management, planning, finance and website design. 

He said: “We worked very hard on production and were slowly making a name for ourselves as a quality producer, but we did not have clear aims and objectives. We made mistakes and some poor decisions which was challenging but necessary – I realise now that this can become a positive learning experience.”

Invaluable industry knowledge and advice

The BGP gave Andrew the opportunity to meet with industry professionals and this exposure helped propel his business forward. He attended a three-day product development course and numerous workshops before lockdown which examined business planning, finance and website management plus webinars, training courses and one-to-one sessions.

Andrew said: “Meeting other business owners and expanding my professional networks has been hugely beneficial. Insight from industry professionals was valuable and staff at NoWFOOD are extremely helpful. I feel that I am a part of a community of small businesses which has given me confidence and the belief that I am able to succeed.” 

Business growth and new product lines

Since starting the BGP, Gourmegg has continued to grow steadily despite Covid-19 and turnover has increased by approximately 20%. To adapt to the pandemic, Andrew switched from trading at markets to become a supplier to independent retailers such as delicatessens. Gourmegg successfully launched an ordering app during Coronavirus and has been offering a variety of food to the local community.

Andrew is currently testing new products and has added new lines which are being sold to independent retailers across the North West. He has also taken on two members of staff to help him attend more markets and is getting products despatched by courier to free up his time.

“The programme has helped me with foundations and given me knowledge to continue developing the business. I intend to continue engaging with the programme to help support future growth,” he said. “The business development managers have been incredibly supportive. The University of Chester is very local to me and I cannot praise it enough for its ongoing support. The advice I would give to aspiring entrepreneurs is to network.”

The Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Entrepreneurs, SMEs and pre-start businesses registered or trading in Cheshire and Warrington, meeting the eligibility criteria, can apply for support. Help is available from our team of Business Engagement Managers and access is also available to facilities at the University of Chester’s Thornton Science ParkRiverside Innovation Centre and the NoWFOOD Centre

If you are a business seeking access to facilities and expert growth support, contact the University of Chester’s Business Growth Team by emailing businessgrowth@chester.ac.uk.