It is an exciting time for James Amps of Collette’s Crêpes, based in March, with a newly converted horsebox opening new opportunities for his business. The horsebox and the conversion into a mobile catering unit was funded thanks to a grant from the CPCA Growth Hub Start and Grow programme.
His company, which creates delicious waffles and crêpes at events and markets around the area, was inspired by family holidays to Cornwall, where similar food businesses were in abundance. “I realised that there was a real gap in the market back in Cambridgeshire for these sweet dishes,” stated James. “I had a good understanding of events from the stewarding work I had done locally, and I felt that customers would love them.”
“I have always wanted to work for myself and had chatted through ideas with my wife Amy and friends and then took the plunge and ordered all the equipment to set up the business last December,” said James. He took his trusty gazebo to events and markets which were really successful, and he then began to think of ways to grow the business and take advantage of celebration events such as weddings and birthdays.
“My wife initially mentioned the Start and Grow programme and the grants on offer, which she has heard about online. It sounded too good to be true, especially as it came at exactly the right time for my idea to buy and convert a horsebox,” explained James. He wanted a more professional set up for his business which was easier to set up and pack down as well as providing opportunities to expand the menu.
James applied for the grant with support from the Start and Grow team and was successful, much to his delight. “The process of the grant application was useful to me as a new business as it helped to consider the key issues of where we wanted to be and how to get there, as well as developing the necessary documents to help me plan.”
“The grant enabled me to purchase the horsebox, get it converted to catering use as well as equipment and generators to run the power,” stated James. In preparation for its arrival, James has been busy promoting the new horsebox to event organisers plus wedding fayres and other events which are now available to the business.
James hopes that the new unit will enable him to increase the product range to include savoury toppings plus good quality coffees and hot drinks. Currently the menu focuses on sweet flavours such as the classic lemon and sugar plus Nutella & banana, chocolate, Biscoff, Crunchie and Oreo. He also wants to explore more seasonal themed flavours for special events such as Christmas markets and is busy building the business profile on social media, with a little help from Amy.
“Without the grant from the Start and Grow programme, we would never have been able to afford the horsebox so quickly. It was a fantastic opportunity which definitely helped us to work out where we were going as a business,” James commented.
CPCA and its partners received £2.5m funding from the Community Renewal Fund for the Start and Grow programme, which was delivered across Peterborough, Fenland and Huntingdonshire in 2022. It has equipped new and existing enterprises with the business skills they need for sustainable growth and creating new jobs. The project was also supported and was in partnership with Peterborough City Council and Fenland and Huntingdonshire District Councils.