A couple who run a mobile fish and chip shop are among 12 UK businesses to be selected as start up ‘champions.’
Husband and wife team Matthew and Corina Martin started Stafford-based Cod of Duty in December 2020, just months after being made redundant from their previous roles in the hospitality industry.
The pair used two £17,000 Start Up Loans to launch the food truck after deciding to make their dream of owning a food business together a reality.
Today Cod of Duty makes regular visits to three sites in Staffordshire and has several street markets booked in.
Now Matthew and Corina have been named Start Up Loans ambassadors for the West Midlands by Start Up Loans, part of British Business Bank.
The Start Up Loans Ambassadors Programme celebrates ‘exceptional’ business owners who have followed their ambition of becoming their own boss after receiving support from the Government-backed Start Up Loans programme.
Cod of Duty is just one of 7,342 West Midlands-based businesses which have received a loan since 2012, representing a total value of more than £64 million.
Matthew Martin – who hopes to expand the business with bookings for weddings, parties and corporate events – said: “We decided to take a leap of faith, take redundancy and start our own business.
“We had talked about self-employment for a while and had an idea that a mobile fish and chip van would be a good business idea.”
He added: “The first outing was really nerve-wracking, we did a couple of test runs in Stafford, but we had no complaints – and we recently got our first five-star review on Trip Advisor.
“We have never worked harder but this is our choice, and we make all the decisions. Importantly it puts us in control and gives us what we always wanted – a positive work-life balance with plenty of time for the family.”
The Stoke-on-Trent BusinessLive Awards in association with The Sentinel and Stoke-on-Trent Live 2022 are back and open for entries.
Businesses and individuals from across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire are being encouraged to enter across 14 categories including the coveted Business of the Year award.
You can find more information about all of the categories here.
The deadline for entries is Monday, January 10 and the ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 28.
The 2021/22 Start Up Loans ambassadors – which reflect the broad diversity and ambition of the nation’s small business sector at grass roots level – are due to be honoured at a virtual event hosted by Start Up Loans later today (Nov 17).
Richard Bearman, managing director at Start Up Loans, said: “The small business community has been through a disrupted and challenging year, making it all the more important that we celebrate and champion the sector.
“The breadth and diversity of this year’s Start Up Loans ambassadors demonstrates that, with the right support and mentoring, aspiring business owners from all walks of life can thrive in the most challenging circumstances.
“I want to congratulate our 2021 ambassadors on the tenacity and determination they have shown over the past year, which has resulted in hugely impressive achievements.
“I look forward to working with them and sharing their stories to inspire others in their communities.”
Since 2012, the ambassadors programme has delivered more than 88,000 loans to business owners across the UK, amounting to more than £790 million.
Small Business Minister Paul Scully added: “Start Up Loans are a vital pillar in our efforts to level up every part of the country and offer opportunities to hard-working, dynamic people regardless of their background.
“From canned wine to woodwork, bridalwear to camel milk, this year’s Start Up Loans Ambassadors reflect the incredible diversity and creativity of entrepreneurship across the UK and will spearhead our mission to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”