Simon goes mobile with a taste of the Caribbean


Simon Turner has St Lucian roots and during lockdown came across a little notebook, full of his Grandfather’s own Caribbean recipes, hidden away in the attic that had been left when he had visited the UK.

Whilst on Furlough and struggling with his mental health, Simon tried out a few of the recipes, realised how they were amazing they were, shared a post on Facebook to say he was planning to cook for the NHS to raise money during lockdown.

As well as using his own money for provisions, Simon asked for donations via Just Giving and had people queuing down the street for his food, then started taking orders for collection via Instagram/Facebook with meals selling out within 48 hours. Simon also starting doing meal preps for some of his wife’s gym clients and shortly afterwards Penarth Rugby Club approached him to do some cooking for them once a month. This gave Simon the idea and confidence to start up a mobile food unit – Taste of Turner, serving up his family’s recipes brought over from St Lucia in the Caribbean.

“I was blown away with the response to my creative cooking, quickly growing a huge following on social media”

How Start Up Loans supported Simon get mobile with his idea

After the various lockdowns, in May 2021 Simon approached Business in Focus for specialist business support and to obtain a £15,000 loan from the Start Up Loans Company, which expert Business Advisor, Lisa Stretch provided entirely online. The funding was to purchase a catering van and towards initial working capital for employee wages during the first year.

Following the support with preparation for the loan application Simon will continue to receive mentoring and support from Lisa, to ensure he receives the relevant advice when making business decisions for the next 12 months, as part of the free service.

“Lisa continuously praised me and supported me to develop an amazing business plan, cash flow and 12 months forecasting”

Plans for the future

Simon has a regular pitch in a local popular rugby club which sells other Street Food, came second in the Welsh Sandwich Competition only losing out to a professional chef and has appeared on the local radio. Currently Simon works the mobile unit around his full-time job as a scaffolding estimator and employs a family member to support during the week. He operates the trailer himself on the weekends, with the plan to eventually work on it full time, with an opportunity in the pipeline to appear on the BBC and now has a clear path ahead for his future and that of generations to come.

“Despite being nervous Lisa was committed and believed in me every step of the way and has changed my life”

Lisa Stretch, Start Up Loans Business Advisor
“I have loved working with Simon he’s a fascinating and likable character. His great idea was able to grow organically by  fundraising for the NHS during Covid-19”

What is a Start Up Loan? 

A Start Up Loan is a government-backed personal loan available to individuals over 18 years old looking to start or grow a business in the UK. The main goal of the Start Up Loans scheme is to ensure that viable start-ups have access to the finance and support they need in order to thrive.

If you receive a loan, we will then support you through your journey, providing you with your business mentor for 12 months from the date of receiving your loan. Start Up Loans are available for businesses yet to launch or those that have been trading for up to 24 months.

Find out more about a Start Up Loan and apply online