Glass Half Full For Swansea Eatery – The Optimist


A seasoned entrepreneur has transformed a traditional Uplands café into an uber-fashionable eatery, thanks to a £100k start up loan arranged by Business in Focus – an official delivery partner for the Start Up Loans Company.

At just 32 years old, Ryan already has a handful of successful businesses in his portfolio, from a biometrics technology firm to a buy-to-let property business, and a contractors network.

He has now gone into partnership with his mother, father and sister to transform what was the Chattery, in Uplands Cresecent, into The Optimist Bar and Kitchen.

Decorated in a Scandi-luxe style, and offering food that taps into up-to-date eating trends – from Poke and Nordic bowls, to trendy breakfast options, The Optimist has opened after a major investment in its refurbishment – which was enabled by the £100k loan, arranged by Business in Focus.

Ryan says: “Since we opened in August 2017 business has been exceeding all expectations  – in fact we are routinely doubling our forecasted sales. And the support we have received from Business in Focus has been invaluable.

“Business in Focus has supported us not just with securing the finance we needed, which only took about eight weeks from making the application to getting the money through, but also with making sure we have got everything in place to put the business on a sound foundation.

“So, they helped with writing a business plan, working out financial forecasts – the nuts and bolts of setting up a business. And the fact that their support is long-term has been so helpful. It hasn’t just been a case of securing funds and then closing our file – we have a long-term relationship with our Business Advisors, first Angela Williams, from Business Wales, and now Steve Hammond, from Business in Focus, both of whom have become friends, and who drop into The Optimist quite often now.

“Many entrepreneurs are creative people with strong ideas, but they are, perhaps, not so good at the fine details of the financials, so I feel very strongly that long-term professional support is vital. And it is pleasing to know that long-term support is out there for people like me.

“The climate is right in Wales for start-ups to thrive. Of course, there are economic challenges to setting up a business, in that many mainstream banks are reluctant to lend to start-ups, but in fact there has never been a better time to get meaningful support.”

Business in Focus Business Advisor, Steve Hammond said: “I’m delighted to see the Optimist Kitchen blossoming and bringing a vibrant new business to the area. Ryan is right to highlight the importance of long-term support for start-ups – even for people who have a lot of business experience, as he does. Our Start Up Loan service comes with the added provision of expert advice from a business advisor for a full year after the loan is secured.”