Business Wales helps Aberystwyth cake maker to successfully scale up her business.

Alana Spencer launched Ridiculously Rich by Alana to offer a range of handmade cakes and chocolates to customers, retailers and at events all across the country. Having taken full control of her business following an investment from Lord Sugar, Alana was ready to develop a new strategy for further growth – and this is where the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service came on board.

  • relationship Management support to grow the business
  • a £40,000 Innovation Grant secured
  • 6 FTE jobs created with additional roles planned for 2020

Introduction to business

Having started making chocolates for friends and family at the age of 16, Aberystwyth-born Alana Spencer set up her own baking business, selling cakes all across the country.

With a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar, secured during the 2016 edition of The Apprentice, Alana was able to kick start Ridiculously Rich by Alana and has since launched her own bakery in Aberystwyth, offering a range of cakes and chocolates to her own recipes.

In February 2020, Elite Franchises announced Alana as one of the top 100 franchises (No 66) in the UK for her new, innovative Ambassador programme.

Why did you decide to set up your own business?

Ever since I was a child, I have always been coming up with little projects and business ideas. I started selling chocolates at 16 years old to my friends and teachers. I then moved on to cakes and started travelling across the UK, selling at food festivals and events. Working for myself, selling something I have made has always seemed the natural decision for me, and I have always been very inspired by my uncle who has had many very successful businesses of his own.

What challenges did you face?

When I was making chocolates, it was the shelf life of the products. As delicious as it is, fresh cream in chocolates meant I would end up with a lot of wastage! In more recent times, it has been the challenges around setting up my own bakery. The funds needed and the challenges of producing to strict deadlines have definitely taken a while to master.

Business Wales support

Business Wales Relationship Manager Steve Maggs came on board to help Alana with the initial planning for the opening of her new bakery in Aberystwyth, including arranging support from Powys County Council’s Environmental Health team.

Steve also helped with a new financial and professional services support structure to replace the framework provided by Lord Sugar’s organisation.

Additionally, Business Wales were able to assist with Alana’s successful application for a Ceredigion County Council’s Arfor ‘Going for Growth’ grant towards an investment programme aimed to establish new sales channels for her range of products.

Outcomes

  • relationship Management support to grow the business
  • a £40,000 Innovation Grant secured
  • 6 FTE jobs created with additional roles planned for 2020
  • HR support with policies and procedures ahead of a recruitment campaign
  • skills advice on training opportunities
  • Welsh for Business to help encourage the use of the Welsh language in the business
  • further innovation help to support the business’ sustainability goals

Steve’s help has been invaluable. Having someone there to offer advice has been incredibly beneficial. There is so much amazing advice and funding available for businesses in Wales – having Business Wales there to help and advise us has meant we have been able to secure an innovation grant to grow our business.

Future plans and ambitions

With the grant we have been awarded, we are planning to build 80 of our self-serve retail units to be installed in retail and convenience stores all across the UK. We recently started supplying national retailers Nisa and BP, and are in discussions with a number of other exciting retailers. To get our cakes into as many shops and to as many customers as we can is the ultimate goal for Ridiculously Rich!

If you want to read more success stories of how Business Wales has helped other people like you to start or grow their businesses, visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/case-studies or follow @_businesswales / @_busnescymru on Twitter.

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