Women behind healthy lollies win business Award

John Coates, Deputy Store Manager of Sainsbury’s in Bell Green , Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, Meriel, Lucy and Tony Goldstein, Managing Director, South East Enterprise. Pic: Lewisham Council

John Coates, Deputy Store Manager of Sainsbury’s in Bell Green, Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, Meriel Kelhoe, Lucy Woodhouse and Tony Goldstein, Managing Director, South East Enterprise. Pic: Lewisham Council

Lucy Woodhouse and Meriel Kelhoe, two women from Forest Hill wh0 created  Claudi & Fin frozen yogurt lollies, have won the Mayor of Lewisham Business Award. The award is presented to local business owners to celebrate their success and bond with the community.

The idea of the frozen lolly company came about when Woodhouse and Kelhoe could not find any lollies with natural ingredients for their children. They decided to create their own healthy recipe with real fruit, Vitamin D and no artificial ingredients. The brand was named after their own children: “Claudi & Fin”.

Claudi & Fin was set up  in 2012, after Woodhouse attended a start-up seminar held by the Lewisham and Southwark Business Advisory Service. The seminar provided information on financial opportunities, legal structures and business plans, and with the skills needed to start their own business Woodhouse and Kelhoe entered the PitchUP competition. Led by StartUp Britain and Sainsbury’s, offers small British start-ups a chance to get their product into Sainsbury’s stores.

The pair beat ten other finalists to become one of four start-up businesses to gain a 12 months contract with Sainsbury’s. Worth around £100,000, the contract allowed them to supply 300 stores with Claudi & Fin lollies.

The co-founders were excited to win the award: “It has taken more than two years of really hard work to get our yoghurt lollies launched and this amazing accolade is confirmation that all the hard work and sacrifice have been worth it,” said Kelhoe.

“We very much see ourselves as a Lewisham business and are grateful for the local support we have received, from the business advice we got from Tony Goldstein at South East Enterprise to the advice on food labelling we received from the local council. We are forever in their debt for helping us on our path to success.”

Tony Goldstein, Managing Director of South East Enterprise helped deliver the pair with the initial business plan. He said: “Lucy and Meriel have amazing resolve and determination as well as a fantastic insight into market needs. It’s particularly satisfying to see Claudi & Fin win this business award, it’s very well deserved and it’s been a pleasure working with them as their business adviser.”

Sir Steve Bullock, The Mayor of Lewisham was proud of what the local entrepreneurs have achieved:

“This is an excellent example of local entrepreneurism at its best. In Lewisham we are passionate about supporting businesses with advice and help to develop new ideas, so it is particularly encouraging to see such a great start-up from Lewisham selected for such a life-changing supermarket deal. Lucy and Meriel are worthy recipients of this award and I wish Claudi & Fin all the very best for the future.”

Other winners of the Lewisham Business Award included Catford-based Phoebes Garden Centre for corporate social responsibility and the Deptford-based skincare brand MuLondon for customer care.

The next round of Lewisham Business Awards will take place in November 2014 and nominations can be made at www.lewisham.gov.uk/buisnessawards

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