Business Profile - Corndale Farm
Northern Ireland's first Chorizo adds spice to Country life for Limavady man Alastair
The computing graduate starting making the traditional Spanish Sausage product in February 2016 - and just two months later his business Corndale Farm had secured a deal to supply a Derry / Londonderry Restaurant. Having met and worked alongside Alastair earlier this year to develop a bespoke business plan for his enterprise, we managed to catch up with him again in between in his busy work schedule! Heres what he had to say...
Can you describe your business?
In a Nut Shell Corndale Farm specialises in creating unique charcuterie products from our herd of free range saddleback pigs. The range includes two types of dried chorizo and salami. All handcrafted in the Roe Valley. The first of it's kind in Northern Ireland and the only company to date to produce such products.
Why did you start your own business?
Coming from a farming background Alastair has always had a keen interest in the agri-food sector. Alastair explains " I have been used working with farm animals all my life, and up until a few years ago never dreamed I would be starting my own business producing my own food range. It hasn't been a straight forward process by no means, especially in regard to the funding of my project, though I am glad that I went ahead and established the business and I am grateful for the help I have received along the way from family and friends and particularly from my Local Enterprise Agency - Roe Valley Enterprises Ltd who were very helpful throughout the business planning process. Another key motivator for starting my own business was to create a unique speciality product and to raise awareness of free range pork and ethically produced meat in Northern Ireland. Since opening the business we've had a massive demand for our products and it makes it all worthwhile when we receive the great feedback about our products."
What are the most enjoyable factors of running your own business?
"There are quite a few things I really enjoy about running my own business, but If I had to select one thing I would have to say receiving positive and encouraging feedback from my customers is just about the most satisfying feeling there is! Of course, getting to eat some of my tasty chorizo at the end of a hard day is also a welcome bonus!".
What are the main challenges facing the business going forward?
"I have a great support team around me and I have been fortunate enough so far to feature in various news articles, featuring my business which has helped with promoting the business a great deal. I suppose one of my main challenges going forward is to continue promoting the business and to ensure the high quality of food remains the same as the business continues to expand and grow".
How has your business grown since you first launched?
There has been massive growth within the first 6 months of business. The business has been growing steadily by 40% per month since, with an expected turnover of between £80-100K by the end of Year 1. The business has taken on two part-time members of staff so far, with plans to take on another member of staff within the second quarter of 2017.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a business?
"I would encourage anyway thinking about starting a business to take their time and research their business model thoroughly. I wasn't sure about how to go about starting my own business, as it was all quite new to me. My first step was to contact my Local Enterprise Agency, in this case it was Roe Valley Enterprises Ltd. The support I received was second to none. Prior to meeting with Ryan at Roe Valley Enterprises, I was somewhat second-guessing myself and the viability of my business! However, after a positive and informative initial meeting with Ryan I was more determined than ever to turn my passion into a sustainable business! After the business planning process was completed, I felt more reassured and confident in myself, and my ability to run my own business"
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