Have you ever yearned for something fresher and more exotic to offer your guests, than the traditional array of humus, taramasalata or guacamole dips?

Keystone Law client Charlotte Knight missed the fresh and tasty dips that she had been used to in New Zealand and recognised a gap in the UK premium food market in 2011. Within one year, she had set up the G’NOSH gourmet dips brand, launched her first four flavours and secured a listing within the prestigious Selfridges Foodhall.In 2012, the brand extended to lunch-box size “dippables” in three flavours. This year The Co-operative will be rolling out the brand to 300 stores in May 2013.

Charlotte had a background in marketing within banking and IT sectors, but had been on the lookout for an entrepreneurial opportunity which would fulfil her creative side and give her more freedom to manage her own time. Having always loved food and become conscious of the lack of fresh wholesome options in the UK, Charlotte recognised an opportunity to shake up the fresh foods category, at a time when demand is growing for gourmet snacks and adult lunch boxes.

“I come from New Zealand, where gourmet dips are available everywhere and this inspired me to develop a range of great tasting dips that would wake up this food category in the UK, offering customers some choice. I have made it my mission to liven up the drab shelves and introduce an alternative to the endless rows of hummus and mayo-drenched 1970’s party packs! This is where G’NOSH was born,” explains Charlotte.

With Charlotte’s background in marketing, it is not surprising that G’NOSH was launched with an exciting brand and web site (www.gnosh.co.uk) and has already attracted the attention of leading chefs including award-winning chef, patissier, chocolatier, Waitrose consultant and media personality Will Torrent.

Following the initial success of the launch, Charlotte soon realised that she needed to raise external capital in order to grow the business quickly enough to meet demand. Mark Machray, a corporate solicitor with Keystone Law, was introduced by the G’NOSH branding agency and came on board to help and support Charlotte as she pitched for funding.

The strength of the business proposition made G’NOSH an ideal investment target under the Treasury’s Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), which offers a tax incentive to encourage investment in small and early stage companies by reducing the risk to investors of investing in these types of companies. The Government introduced the SEIS as a way to promote new enterprise and boost economic growth in the UK.

Within 6 weeks, Charlotte was successful in attracting two angel investors with valuable experience in the food and drinks industry. Mark Machray then advised the company on the terms of the investment and drafted the investment documentation in order to comply with the SEIS requirements.

Having created at least ten jobs so far, 6+ in production and 4 at head office, G’NOSH is already an example of entrepreneurism at its best. Consequently, the business was selected as a case study for “Investing for Success: SEIS Briefing at London Stock Exchange” in November 2012 as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Asked what tips she would share with other budding entrepreneurs, Charlotte Knight offered couple of practical pieces of advice:

  • build up your network and tap into your circle of influence, and this includes getting a good lawyer and finance manager from the outset; and
  • it is important to find a balance between tapping into your creative spirit and staying critically focused on your commercial priorities.

For further information, see www.gnosh.co.uk.

This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.