Bakery Brings Specialist Bread and New Jobs to Newport

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A new bakery inspired by the founder’s love of a specialist bread from his homeland is set to create seven jobs.

During his six years in Wales support worker Adekunle Ashaolu has been arranging with friends to bring him bread supplies of sweet Nigerian Eko bread each time they make a trip to London, as the capital along with Manchester are two of the main UK cities where his favourite bread is more readily available.

Eko and Agege bread are popular in Adekunle’s Lagos home city and he was thrilled to find both in London, where he moved to study accountancy 15 years ago.

He has since accessed a £25,000 Start Up Loan via the British Business Bank, which he has invested in industrial kitchen equipment and refitting a shop in Newport which will become Eko Bakery.

He said:

“I have some financial knowledge but have found the business planning advice and realistic analysis of potential challenges, which have been raised in our discussions with British Business Bank, invaluable.”

Despite also having experience as a chef, the father of three will employ seven people at his Newport bakery and store and will oversee marketing, online sales and deliveries and logistics himself, while recruiting a chef and training five other sales and customer relations support staff.

Agidi is also known as Eko in some regions of Nigeria, where it is a popular breakfast meal. It is usually made from cornflour, while some prefer to bake Eko from maize flour or cornmeal and then add sugar as an ingredient.

Adekunle said:

“The bread is delicious for dipping. There is now a large and growing African community in Newport, which is why I’ve identified a need to bring it here. Our chef is using a secret recipe which we know from home.

“Many of members of the Nigerian community have been coming into the premises to make enquiries before launch. We are confident we will be providing a popular product.”

Jessica Phillips-Harris, Senior Manager for Wales at the British Business Bank, said:

“The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme exists for entrepreneurs like Adekunle who identify a way of benefitting the local community by offering a quality product as well as employment opportunities. We wish him every success with his venture.”

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