A LEEK businessman is expanding his business and wants his product to go global.
Oatcake production at Povey's Oatcakes is set to soar and new jobs will follow after the opening of new manufacturing and distribution centre in the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Award winning oatcake maker Alex Povey, owner of Poveys Oatcakes has decided it is time to expand his business and push the local delicacy to a greater audience way beyond North Staffordshire.
Since the untimely death of his father Steve in 2011, Alex, aged 25, has headed up the family business. Not one to stand still, he had ambitions to grow and to "spread the oatcake gospel".
Alex, whose business has won the 6 Towns Radio - Best Oatcake Shop in Stoke-on-Tent for two years running, said: "Oatcakes are a staple food in this part of the world and I can't see any reason why they shouldn't catch on across the globe.
"Everyone from outside the area who tries them wants to take some back and is disappointed that they are not available at home. After I lost my dad I made a conscious decision to build on his hard work by expanding production."
Alex, who lives in Leek, is set to open a brand new oatcake manufacturing unit and distribution centre at Victoria Park, Biddulph. The investment has taken place thanks to a mix of funding from the bank, his own savings and, crucially, the Regional Growth Funding via Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, who came to the rescue and funded the finance gap, without which, the project could not have gone ahead.
The key component of Alex's expansion is a brand new automated oatcake making machine sourced from France. The machine was installed by two French technicians who also spent a week at the new distribution centre getting the settings right to produce typical Poveys Oatcakes.
Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce also put Alex in touch with a business mentor on the Chamber's 'Let's do Mentoring' scheme. Alex was matched with retired businessman, Franz Opitz who brought a wealth of experience from heading up several large head offices of overseas companies based in the UK.
Speaking on Alex, Franz said: "I was immediately taken with his enthusiasm and sense of an opportunity. I worked with Alex on formulating his plans to make the best possible impression with the banks and funders. Small businesses need to grow but in a sustainable way and we were able to get the tone right to secure vital funding from NatWest Bank."
Alex hopes to have the new factory unit fully operational by mid-May 2014. He said: "The new machine should quadruple oatcake production overnight. I'm already supplying one major supermarket chain locally and the added capacity helps me to target the other big players in food retailing.
I'm currently employing 11 but have a target to take on five new staff as demand increases."