A Welsh business making artisan vegan jams, marmalades and chutneys is planning major expansion after weathering the storm wreaked by Covid-19, with the help of a community banking fund.

Rhondda Cynon Taf-basedEnjoy Rogue is looking to expand across the UK into supermarkets and also overseas markets, following a £40,000 loan from Robert Owen Community Banking Fund (ROCBF) in Newtown.

Asher Flowers, the man behind the firm, said he really valued the person-to-person financial help he received from ROCBF during the pandemic.

The entrepreneur said his long-term ambition was to make the business “the Number 1 brand for the at-home brunch”.

The 28-year-old moved back to Wales from a career in advertising in London to startEnjoy Roguebased in Clydach Vale, in 2017.

Initially he teamed up with his mother Anita, who he said taught him the fundamentals of her hobby making delicious marmalades and chutneys when he was growing up in Haverfordwest.

“We started out selling our products at Pontcanna and Roath Farmers’ Markets in Cardiff and it grew from there.

“We recognised a real opportunity for high-class artisan jams, marmalades and chutneys, and luckily sales soon began to take off.”

With their home-made and allergen-free products like Espresso Martini marmalade and Bravado Chilli Pepper jam tickling the taste buds of its customers,Enjoy Roguesoon began to find customers countrywide and built up a network of manufacturers around the country.

But then came the coronavirus pandemic and Mr Flowers said when he then needed to find urgent support for his expanding business, he was very pleased to find help online.

“We needed business interruption support because the pandemic knocked both our supplies and customers,” said Mr Flowers.

“Robert Owen Community Banking Fund really really helped us in the emergency. It was really nice to be able to speak to someone person-to-person about our particular position and the help we needed.”

Happily, the independent firm was able to weather the pandemic and Mr Flowers said they are now expanding further with talks in place with UK supermarkets about selling the products.

And with further investments following the financial backing of ROCBF, he said the company is now finding new markets for its brand with customers in Saudi Arabia and the US.

He said: “The long-term dream forEnjoy Rogueis to be the number one brand for at-home brunch, selling other vegan products like granolas alongside out marmalades and chutneys.”

Jackie Milton of Robert Owen Community Banking Fund, said: “After such an awful year it was so good to be able to support an up-and-coming young Welsh entrepreneur with such an exciting food business.”

 

 

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