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Streets Ahead

McCain Foodservice Solutions are sponsoring hundreds of budding street food entrepreneurs from less advantaged backgrounds. The Streets Ahead programme is on track to see its first new businesses set up by the end of 2023.

In June 2022 McCain Foodservice Solutions, the UK’s largest branded potato supplier, partnered with street food membership organisation KERB to provide individuals from less-advantaged backgrounds with the opportunity to bring their dreams of becoming a street food entrepreneur to life.

McCain’s mission through Streets Ahead is to create opportunity and joy through great street food. McCain is supporting the hospitality industry by helping the future generation of operators flourish and encourage new ideas in the space.

The programme aims to sponsor over 100 people to join the KERB classroom, an online food start-up course which helps take food business ideas out of people’s heads and turn them into a reality. (8)

The classroom course educates participants on what it takes to start a street food business covering topics from branding, to menus, to operations, its interactivity makes it a fun tool for participants to get creative with their own ideas. The course provides participants with the skills and opportunities to start a successful street food business.

McCain is investing up to £100,000 into supporting these participants to launch their own street food businesses. When participants have completed the online classroom they will be offered continued support from the programme operators and the opportunity to pitch for up to £10,000 of investment into their business idea. Early 2023 saw the first few participants awarded their Streets Ahead certificates for completing the Streets Ahead classroom course.

The programme began recruiting through UK charities that target homelessness, disabilities, refugees, ex-offenders, youth employment and more. They also launched the programme in two UK prisons. McCain funded the implementation of Streets Ahead onto secure laptops allowing reformed prisoners on the brink of release to study the course preparing them to continue with the programme once they are released.  

In November 2022 McCain welcomed participants to KERB’s Seven Dials Market in Covent Garden to the programme’s first Immersion Day. This day is for participants to gain hands-on experience at a trading street food market and get inspired by the bustling environment that celebrates food from all over the world.

We heard from successful traders such as Tom Bickers, the founder of Truffle Burger, who now has multiple bricks and mortar locations across high footfall spots in London as well as a concession at Seven Dials Market. Bickers shared his top tips for success with the next generation of street food entrepreneurs, which included insight into how to write a unique, captivating menu. 

We also heard from the owner of El Pollete who educated participants on his journey to foodie success and shared his wisdom, focusing on the operational aspect of a street food business. On the Immersion Day McCain took the opportunity to ask some of the current participants about what made them take the plunge and join the Streets Ahead programme. (7)

Yogi, a current participant answered: “I’ve always had great feedback on my cooking and it’s been something I wanted to make a career out of, but I was never sure where to start. When I found the Streets Ahead programme, I saw an opportunity to learn more about how to make this a reality and quickly signed up.”  Since the Immersion Day Yogi has participated in 1-2-1 coaching sessions with KERB to refine his business idea and signature dish. McCain mention he is showing amazing promise as he progresses through the programme.

Streets Ahead offer 1-2-1 sessions to provide support throughout the programme to help level up street food ideas. Whether this be dissecting menus to ensure they are profitable, teaching new ways to stay on top of food trends, sorting logistics around locations in which participants would like to trade and helping write pitch decks hoping to secure funding.

These sessions are bespoke to each individual to ensure they are being set up for success. On top of this, those who want to further develop their signature dishes in flavour and individuality will be welcomed to food development sessions led by KERB’s head of food. During these sessions, participants will be given the opportunity to cook professionals their signature meal and receive feedback and support in developing it further. Streets Ahead ensures their participants are given the greatest opportunity of success to make their dreams a reality. 

So far, McCain has seen over 70+ promising entrepreneurs with a keen passion for food and business join the Streets Ahead programme. (6)

So, what’s next for Streets Ahead?

Streets Ahead is now in its 10th​ month since launching. June 2023 will round up the programme’s first 12 months and will see funding released to up to 10 chosen individuals. But, by the 31st​ of May our Streets Ahead participants must submit their business pitch deck to the team. Those who have impressed the Streets Ahead coordinators with their mouth-watering recipe ideas, developed a truly unique concept and inspired the team, will then be invited for the chance to cook their signature dish at Mission Kitchen in London. McCain and KERB will chat with the successful entrepreneurs about their idea, and from this, a decision will be made on whether they receive up to £10,000 in funding to launch their very own business. 

McCain’s ambition has always been to help a future generation of operators flourish. They are looking forward to seeing people from all walks of life reap the rewards of their hard work given to the Streets Ahead course and their dreams of owning a street food business. McCain looks forward to celebrating all the businesses to come from Streets Ahead in the coming years with many more partnerships. The release of funding in June will mark the end of Year 1 for Streets Ahead and they will begin to push forward to unleash more food potential in Year 2 of the programme. (9)