A Bracknell based food production business specialising in Caribbean and Mauritian cuisine has secured funding from the Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) Funding Escalator.
Coco Labelle has received a new £168,000 trade finance loan, which follows a £100,000 expansion loan in 2021. With the initial funding used to fit out a commercial unit and obtain food safety accreditations SALSA & Approved Premises Accreditation, enabling the business to scale from a kitchen table catering venture to a full-production operation, this new loan will be used to support the company to deliver a contract to supply the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Set up in 2014 by trainee solicitor turned chef Elisabeth Brown, Coco Labelle provides African Caribbean food served from a vintage truck to street food markets, high-end festivals and private events including celebrity weddings. By 2020 Elisabeth had won a tender on the NHS Supply Chain for the supply of African & Caribbean meals to the NHS and has gained an impressive reputation, with social media endorsement from acclaimed chefs Michel Roux Jr and Nadia Hussain and Chair of NHS Food Review Philip Shelley.
The contract to supply the Commonwealth Games is substantial, with Coco Labelle providing over 110,000 frozen meals across 35 different recipes.
Elisabeth said: “With the initial expansion loan helping us to grow our operation capabilities, this latest investment has allowed us to take on a contract that we may have otherwise had to decline. Large contracts often require a level of up-front investment that small businesses like ours do not have the working capital to support. We are grateful to FSE for taking the time to really consider our proposal, see the full potential of our business and continue to back us as we expand. The support of FSE has been incredible. Thank you”
Simon Blackbourn, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the TVB Funding Escalator on behalf of TVB Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), commented: “Elisabeth is a resourceful entrepreneur who has deftly balanced the demands of building a business from the family home. Coco Labelle has a demonstrable track record of growth and profitable trading and with its professional kitchen facilities now in place, is in a strong position to take advantage of the opportunities this brings. We are delighted to continue to support Elisabeth as Coco Labelle delivers this contract and we look forward to working with the business as it grows further.”
Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator is an £11.3m initiative funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The Escalator includes an Expansion Loan Scheme, a Trade Finance Loan Scheme and a Growth Equity Fund, providing eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across Berkshire.