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Gwafuvegan specialises in cooking and delivering affordable vegan West African food. They only use high-quality, sustainable produce that is locally sourced. Their number one aim is to spread their love of vegan food and their passion and love of West African food.

Owner and entrepreneur Ngwafu Tansie, joined the EnterprisingYou programme to help take her business to the next level. We decided to catch up with the culinary chef to hear about her journey on our programme.

Tell us about yourself and your business

I‘m a self-trained chef with a background in manufacturing and food. I was born in Cameroon but lived in the UK for most of my life.

I got into my businesses as I saw a gap in the market for vegan West African food, specifically Cameroonian food in Manchester. I started by cooking from home and testing many vegan recipes.

I realised there's nothing like this around, and I wanted to showcase how fantastic Cameroonian food is. I started my business as a side hassle and started producing it from home.

How has the business been progressing?

I was mainly offering a delivery service. So, people were pre-ordering, and I'd deliver it to them. Once things started opening up during the pandemic and people started going out more, in 2021, I began selling my recipes at local markets.

From then on, it's just been getting better! It's been an upward journey with supplying more takeaways, cafes and pop-ups. We've also planning to do supper clubs soon.

The business is moving forward, and the future for the company is looking very positive. I want to continue showcasing our lovely food!

What’s the best way to get a hold of your delicious food?

Unfortunately, we’ve had to stop doing a takeaway service as I still work part-time, and I can’t do both, but we have a website gwafuvegan, so you can see where we're going to have our next pop-up. At the bottom of our website, you can find our future food market dates and any classes we have coming up. We also sell boxes, which are sent directly to the customers within the UK. You can order on a Wednesday and have it delivered by Friday. That's something that we offer to anyone.

 

How did you hear about the EnterprisingYou programme?

I'm working with a few people from the Hub. I applied for the business start-up programme and am working with my mentee. He recommended EnterprisingYou for people who need some additional skills to help their business. I was extremely interested because there's nothing with that much detail available for start-ups. And you can pick what programmes you need for your business.

 

How has EnterprisingYou helped you and your business?

You have access to mentors with expertise in each business specialism which I really wanted because I didn't have much skill in finance and marketing. The business specialists went into detail, told me exactly what I had to do, and even gave me examples and help with templates. I'm now very confident in marketing, and I’m now able to manage the finance side of my business.

With access to finance and marketing coaches, you also had access to training and development courses, was there a standout element of the EnterprisingYou programme?

I think the one thing that stood out to me was the step-by-step support I received when completing my tax return because that was one thing I was putting off and had no idea how to do. I had no experience with tax returns, but with support from my coach, we completed my tax return within 15 minutes, and now I feel confident doing it on my own in the future.

 

Has the EnterprisingYou marketing course had any impact on your business?

Yes, 100%. I still use the marketing template from one of the courses, as the template was based on my specific business. They analysed my business and gave me a template of what I needed to do and when I needed to do it. The course taught me the importance of understanding why you're doing something, posting something and having a message that engages your customers.

When I create a campaign, I always reference that marketing template and use the feedback template we do for our boxes. So even today, I use that template, which is still helping me push my business forward and get my name out there.

Has the EnterprisingYou marketing course had any impact on your business?

Yes, 100%. I still use the marketing template from one of the courses, as the template was based on my specific business. They analysed my business and gave me a template of what I needed to do and when I needed to do it. The course taught me the importance of understanding why you're doing something, posting something and having a message that engages your customers.

When I create a campaign, I always reference that marketing template and use the feedback template we do for our boxes. So even today, I use that template, which is still helping me push my business forward and get my name out there.

 

What would you say to someone that needs some help with their business?

I would say take the time to identify what you want your customers to know about you. Get to know your target market, who you're serving, and what your business is about.

It took me about two or three months to get all the products I had perfected before I even did anything. That propelled me because everybody knows from the get-go who I am, what I'm doing, what I'm about and where they can reach me.

 

What is the future of your business?

I want to continue educating people about my food. I want to do more activity around publicity - more interviews and podcasts with a focus on education - for example, cooking skills and continuing to sell in markets. Hopefully, one day I’ll have a site where I can do much of my prep.

I began my business as a food takeaway service, whereas now I want to have my food at markets and open events. I want to feature in future markets with more publicity and engage in more collaborations with other people and businesses to help give back.

You can find out more about Ngwafu and her business here:

• Website: gwafuvegan
• Instagram: @gwafuvegan • Instagram photos and videos
• Facebook: Gwafuvegan | Facebook

 

We provide fully funded support to the self-employed and gig economy workers across Greater Manchester. If you would like to find out more about EnterprisingYou, register online or email info@enterprising-you.co.uk.

More information about the EnterprisingYou programme can be found here.