Starting a business in Oxford: nom foods

The organic food business' founder talks about why, with a good support network and creative atmosphere, Oxford is a good place to start a business

Company name: nom foods
Founder: Steph Croft-Simon
Founded: 2013
Description: nom foods is an organic foods business that produces a range of super-food products
Website: www.nomfoods.co.uk

What’s great about starting a business in Oxford?

Oxford is a beautiful city. There are lots of academic and creative people here. It’s a great place to live and work. The main advantage for me being in Oxford was we had a good support network here. My friends and family had to help out a lot in the early days – boxing up orders, packaging product etc.

Another great thing about Oxford is that space is relatively cost effective; we got a nice unit for an affordable price that is surrounded by fields – which suits the wholesome, organic feel of the business.

What business support in Oxford have you used? How was it?

In the business planning stages, we went to meet some Oxford business advisors, who were very helpful and able to offer advice about things we were not so experienced in such as  financials and forecasts etc. We have also had brilliant support from the group that run the business park where we rent our unit – Jennings. They are brilliant.

Name the top three reasons to set up a business in Oxford:

  1. Surrounded by inspiring culture and history.
  2. It’s within good distance of London and easily accessible for meetings etc.
  3. It’s a friendly and beautiful place.

Where could Oxford be better / what does it need?

Oxford needs more of a network of young professionals! We have plenty of students and families but not much in-between.

How easy has it been to access finance to grow?

I don’t think it’s ever easy to access finance to grow! Nom was provided some funding by HSBC in the first year. This was invaluable for our growth and we were grateful as at the beginning as it was difficult to get funding anywhere else in Oxford.

However, as we are now starting to think about raising more cash to launch exciting new products and increase our overseas activity, we have found there are more options.

Where do you go to network in Oxford?

We mostly went to advisors and the business park groups as networking channels are not great here or at least we don’t really know about any – so far we have had to travel to network with businesses in a similar industry.

Where do you take a client for a business lunch?

As the city is suited to both families and students, there is a variety of places with many unique and independent restaurants to choose from!  

Where’s great for a company night out?

Again as there is a big student population, there are loads to choose from – and many places are directed at this young, creative community which means they tend to be quite innovative and good to go to.

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