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Morecambe local cuisine vendor sets sights on wider market after award win with Boost support

Morecambe bay chower co

A food trader in Morecambe that sells homemade chowder now aims to expand the business after winning a prestigious accelerator award with support from Boost; Lancashire’s business growth hub.

A former physics teacher, Peter Stephenson set up the Morecambe Bay Chowder Company in 2020 selling homemade chowder on the Morecambe sea front. Through crowdfunding he purchased a solar-powered bicycle to sell his takeaway chowder across various locations in the region. His signature BayChowder celebrates the traditional coastal dish of Morecambe Bay created using local produce and ingredients including seasonal seafood. Peter has no previous business experience and contacted Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub.

After first receiving support in 2021 through Boost’s startup support programme, he contacted Boost again in 2022 and was introduced to Boost business adviser Debbie Chinn – a food and drink specialist. He was seeking support to help prepare an entry for Booth’s Accelerator programme, a prestigious programme launched by the North West supermarket chain to provide a legacy for the next generation of food and drink businesses.

Peter said: “When I first started trading, I was totally new to business and felt very isolated. “By contacting Boost and through the Flying Start programme, I was able to join a group of people in the same position as me and gain the confidence by sharing our experiences. I also received professional advice to help make my business a success.” As a funded business support service, Boost helps Lancashire business owners and leaders navigate the local, regional and national public and private sector business support landscape, to find the right support for their business. Boost also delivers a number of funded programmes for start-up, established and fast-growing businesses.

After Peter contacted Boost’s Growth Support Service again in 2022, he worked with Debbie to pull the information he needed for the entry and to prepare him for the interview with Booths. Debbie said: “We discussed how Peter could position his products in the wider market, including product placement and pricing, scaling up the manufacturing side and the potential to outsource manufacturing to a third party.” Peter also received advice through Lancashire County Council’s Access to Finance service. Cassim Patel, Access to Finance specialist, assisted Peter with business planning and cashflow forecasting as well as planning for the business’s potential future expansion.

In December 2022, Peter’s Morecambe Bay Chowder Company was announced winner of the Booths’ Accelerator programme scheme. Through Booths’ scheme he is now taking part in a tailored 12-month package of support and expertise to help take his business to market. He added: “With Debbie’s professional input I was able to put together a strong entry for the accelerator programme.

Being the winner of the programme has put me on the path to greater success and to really make a go of the business and set my sights on a wider market.” The Accelerator programme will provide Peter with various areas of advice including, manufacturing, brand strategy and industry and market insight as well as personal mentoring. Peter’s products could potentially have a retail listing and be manufactured by Booths. 

As well as trading from his solar-powered bicycle around Morecambe Bay and Lancaster, Peter now also provides catering for private and corporate events. Operating now as a small family business, he hopes in the future to expand on his range of local dishes and to sell his signature chowder through grocery outlets. 

Boost is helping Lancashire businesses. We have a range of funded support programmes and a team of business advisers you can talk to. To speak to someone from the Growth Hub about business support, contact Boost online or call 0800 488 0057.

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