For­ag­ing ven­ture gets help­ing hand

Macclesfield Express - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - STUART GREER

AN en­tre­pre­neur has hailed the help of an ini­tia­tive which helped his busi­ness get off the ground.

James Wood is one of only 15 pro­fes­sional wild food for­agers.

In a bid to grow his busi­ness, the Bolling­ton res­i­dent sought the help of En­ter­pris­ing Mac­cles­field, a ven­ture launched last November which aims to be a one-stop­shop for free ad­vice and sup­port to any­one want­ing to set up their own so­cial or com­mer­cial en­ter­prise.

With that sup­port James has seen rapid growth in his busi­ness.

James said: “I had a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence through En­ter­pris­ing Mac­cles­field and re­ally val­ued the sup­port they pro­vided. The an­a­lyt­i­cal ap­proach en­abled me to fo­cus on where the real op­por­tu­ni­ties lay and avoid costly, time con­sum­ing ef­forts being wasted else­where.”

James ap­proached En­ter­pris­ing Mac­cles­field with an idea of how he could cre­ate a busi­ness to buy his own wood­land and cre­ate a ‘for­est school’ for lo­cal school­child­ren.

He was put in touch with coach Mike Rance of The Silk Part­ner­ship who helped James hone this down and de­velop an al­ter­na­tive busi­ness model based on his for­ag­ing skills.

He then fo­cused on recipes and cook­ing demon­stra­tions us­ing for­aged food and be­gan ap­proach­ing high-end restau­rants about us­ing wild foods in the form of pre­serves, chut­neys, cor­dials and syrups.

In a mat­ter of a month James’s busi­ness, To­tally Wild, has gone from strength to strength. He has led for­ag­ing classes and fea­tured on the BBC, ITV and at the RHS Tat­ton Show. He has also writ­ten a book on food for­ag­ing, in­cor­po­rat­ing recipes, which was launched in Oc­to­ber.

James has been linked up with so­cial en­ter­prise Food4Macc and is in dis­cus­sion with a food man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness with a view to pro­duc­ing wild food prod­ucts and sell­ing these through spe­cial­ist out­lets and to high-end restau­rants.

James is one of a num­ber of suc­cess stories being cel­e­brated as En­ter- pris­ing Mac­cles­field cel­e­brates its first an­niver­sary.

It is run by a Make it Mac­cles­field, a Com­mu­nity In­ter­est Com­pany which runs projects to raise the pro­file of the town. It aims to sim­plify the of­ten con­fus­ing world of busi­ness by of­fer­ing would-be en­trepreneurs free coach­ing from lead­ing busi­ness pro­fes­sion­als. En­trepreneurs will be sign­posted to ex­ist­ing pots of fund­ing to help get their ven­ture off the ground.

James couldn’t rec­om­mend it enough, adding: “I would strongly rec­om­mend start-ups to tap into the ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise avail­able through the En­ter­pris­ing Mac­cles­field team.”

For more in­for­ma­tion visit en­ter­pris­ing mac­cles­field.co.uk

Pro­fes­sional wild food for­ager James Wood pick­ing wild gar­lic

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