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£250,000 for Uffculme chocolatier to raise the bar
8:00am Monday 30th September 2013 in News
A CHOCOLATIER from Mid Devon has secured a six-figure sum to expand his business.
Willie Harcourt-Cooze has been making chocolate since 1998. He started in Venezuela following the purchase of a 1,000-acre cacao farm before setting up a chocolate factory at Langland’s Business Park in Uffculme in 2007.
His business, Willie’s Cacoa, currently supplies retailers in 12 countries around the world and is set to double its turnover following the £250,000 working capital finance package from Santander Corporate & Commercial.
The loan is backed by the government’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme which aims to encourage additional lending to viable small and medium-size companies.
Willie plans to use the money to meet increased demand and explore new global markets. The sum will also help his team grow their product range by developing exciting new flavours.
Willie said: “I started making chocolate because I wanted to share the unique flavours of the world’s great cacaos with as many people as possible.
“I am thrilled that the new finance gives me the opportunityto continue this journey and to expand my business to new markets.”
He came to fame in 2008 when Channel 4 screened a fly-on-the-wall documentary called Willie’s Wonky Chocolate Factory which followed his trials and tribulations in setting up the business.
Danny McMurdo, relationship director at Santander, said: “We are thrilled to be supporting Willie in the next stage of his business growth.
“He has developed a great product brand and has an exceptional management team with the acumen, experience and drive to capitalise on the solid foundations they have already laid down.
“I believe this ambitious company has a very bright future and I am proud to be their banking partner.”
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