From dancer to designer to chef, the founder of Sauce & Spice, Grace Ekall, is using her latest creative pursuit to spice up Bristol’s food scene.
Despite an ongoing battle with cancer, Grace has spent the past few years focused on developing a healthy, Cameroonian food brand, known as Sauce & Spice.
Not someone to let her health stand in her way, Sauce & Spice’s flagship chilli sauce became highly sought after within her local community. However, unable to finance the branding and kitchen equipment necessary to grow the business, Grace hit a wall.
Without access to any further grant funding, and with few assets to secure a personal loan, Grace would have only be able to get an unsecured business loan at a highly unaffordable rate.
Referral to the Community Innovation Fund
The Community Innovation Fund, or CIF for short, is a BBRC project currently in it’s year long pilot. It aims to create the investment conditions that will allow entrepreneurs from deprived communities to start and grow their own businesses. This includes ongoing business support, finance that is not constrained by an individual’s risk profile and repayment terms that reflects the ability to repay.
The CIF first met Grace through Buzz Lockleaze: a social enterprise aiming to enhance employability opportunities, enterprise activity and access to improved health and wellbeing. Having been referred, she was matched with a business coach, with who she could work on her business plan and cash flow documents, as well as being connected with a food safety expert for specialist advice.
Having established that she had the potential to run a viable and sustainable business, Grace received a loan of £3,500 from the CIF to enable her to launch Sauce & Spice.
Since receiving her funding in November 2017, Grace has created her brand, run a successful launch event and developed strategic partnerships to ensure that Sauce & Spice gets in front of potential customers. She’s been featured in the Bristol Post and Bristol 24/7, and continues to go from strength to strength as she shares her incredible range of sauces with Bristol (and beyond)!