McCain Foodservice Solution has supported 12 street food businesses with £100,000 investment through its Streets Ahead programme.
Launched in June 2022, the programme, supported by social enterprise KERB+, aims to support a new generation of operators from less advantaged backgrounds.
Twelve participants were selected from a pool of over 100 to participate in a two-day event held at Mission Kitchen in London. The participants cooked their hero dish and pitched it to a judging panel of representatives from McCain and KERB+.
At the end of the two days, the panel decided all 12 participants deserved a level of investment.
Nigerian refugee Kemi Ogulana was awarded £6,000 to support her business. Cooking authentic Nigerian meals, her goal is to create a street food business where she employees other refugee women. Ogulana's hero dish was jollof rice, plantain, and fried chicken.
Upon receiving the investment, she said: "The McCain Streets Ahead programme has taught me a lot. I have been blessed with so much support from the team here. There have been times I've been nervous and unsure if I can do this, but they have always encouraged me to reach for my dreams and I wouldn't have made it here without them.
"The Streets Ahead community and our shared love for food have made this experience for me. Today I watched everyone help each other; there is so much teamwork, we all want the best for each other, and I can't thank enough the McCain FS and KERB+ team for bringing us here today."
Ogulana was one of five participants to receive £6,000 investment; four received £10,000, while three received £3,000 investment. The remaining £21,000 will be used to host a showcase market in partnership with KERB+ for the winning participants to trade at towards the end of the year.
Richard Jones, McCain Foods commercial director said the ambition for the programme was to ensure the next genetaion of "operators flourish and support individuals in building skills where they wouldn't ordinarily receive".
He added: "I've been moved by the incredible resilience and passion of the participants and proud we have been able to support their dreams of becoming street food operators."
Gavin Dunn managing director of KERB+ said the programme has allowed the organisation to make a greater social impact, and give the participants access to a range of trading opportunities, including some at KERB+'s street food markets, events and food halls.
The programme is scheduled to run until 2025 and McCain is now in its second year to find participants from less advantaged backgrounds, who are driven and passionate about pursuing a career in setting up their very own street food business, with the goal of investing in the next cohort of Street Food entrepreneurs.