Ewa Sikora from Stockton, first contacted Five Lamps in the middle of 2018 with an idea for opening a mobile food van selling, not only, a range of traditional sandwiches, burgers and drinks but also her speciality grilled Polish sausages.
Ewa was taught by her mother in her native Poland and has always had a passion for cooking, which she is now passing on to her daughter.
She explained that when she first approached Five Lamps she had no real idea of how to go about setting up or running a business.
As part of Five Lamps ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and NEA (New Enterprise Allowance) contracts, she worked with Simon Coe and Chris Butler, Five Lamps, Business Advisors, to combine training workshops with one to one support to develop her initial ideas into a clear business plan.
Towards the end of 2018 she completed her business plan and cash flow under the New Enterprise Allowance programme and started trading in the December.
The NEA programme includes ongoing support from start up to the end of the first year of trading and so Ewa has had a number of sessions with Five Lamps Business Advisor, Chris Buter, working on her, marketing, menu, books and tax return.
Initially when starting her business, Ewa pitched her food van on Portrack Lane in Stockton and after six months of trading she moved on to a pitch in Billingham which is an excellent location with lots of passing trade and regular customers.
Things are going really well and her ambition is in time, to expand by having additional vans and locations with other family members coming in to the business to help grow it.
Ewa recently said “Five Lamps helped me a great deal in taking my initial idea into a reality which I am really enjoying. I would certainly recommend anyone to speak to Five Lamps if they wanted to find out more about being self-employed”
The New Enterprise Allowance is a DWP contract for people on Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or lone parent income support.
Five Lamps are a Delivery Partner within the Business Compass Start Up 2 project. This is a business startup project being delivered across Tees Valley to assist potential entrepreneurs to become enterprise ready and ultimately self-employed. This is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
To find out more about starting a business, please speak to Five Lamps Enterprise team on, 01642 608316.