Grant helps business to expand

A bakehouse and brewery business is on the rise thanks to a grant from the Folkestone Community Works programme.

EU FUNDS LOGO MAIN AND THUMBNAIL IMAGE

Docker, based at Folkestone harbour, successfully applied for £7,152 from the scheme, set up after Folkestone & Hythe District Council secured £2.5m from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund.

The money is to help people in the East, Central and Harbour wards of Folkestone build businesses and increase employment. Docker founders Pete Nelson and Wes Burden used their grant to buy equipment that increased their capacity, meaning they could also employ a part-time delivery driver.

We were able to double the amount we could produce, and hiring Russ Smith to help with deliveries meant we could also expand our market.
We can now deliver all across east Kent and it's fantastic to see the business grow.
Docker founder Pete Nelson

The pair applied for the first batch of funding that was released, after attending an information event held for people to find out more.

The Folkestone Community Works team were really supportive and any niggling issues were quickly sorted out.
The application process was straightforward and I'd recommend other businesses in the area find out about it.
This area of Folkestone is a real hive of activity and there are lots of like-minded people doing really great projects. Every year it gets bigger and better and more and more people visit, so we're looking forward to a fantastic summer.
Pete Nelson

Docker started in April 2016 in an old shipping container at the harbour with just Pete and Wes, who had been brewing craft beer and baking sourdough breads from home. The pair now employ five people.

As well as the harbour, where they trade Wednesday to Saturday, they also have a base at the Goods Shed in Canterbury, open Tuesday to Saturday.

Their future plans include finding more local outlets for their bread, and expanding to sell their beer nationally and internationally.

It was originally an experiment to see if people liked our products - and they did.
We're now looking at east Kent and beyond to find more lovely places that care about food to stock our bread, and because beer can travel we're looking even further afield.
Pete Nelson

Folkestone Community Works currently has grants available to organisations wanting to deliver business support services, or create office space for new and start-up businesses.

Business support projects should help potential and existing entrepreneurs, self-employed people and existing firms within the Folkestone Community Works area to grow and develop their businesses. The minimum grant is £20,000 plus £20,000 match-funding by the applicant, and the maximum grant is £225,000. Smaller innovative projects will be considered.

Projects to create good quality, flexible office space and business accommodation, or creative space for individuals and teams, can apply for a grant of up to £525,000. The minimum for individual projects is £100,000, plus £100,000 match-funding.

The deadline to apply is 5pm on Monday, June 3 and more detail can be found on the Folkestone Community Works webpage https://folkestone.works/funding-and-support/folkestone-community-works/

For more information on Docker, visit http://dockerfermentation.com

Date published: 21 May 2019