Cornish Gouda Crowdfunder quest

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Ignite winner Cornish Gouda is offering supporters the chance to pre-order an artisan Gouda cheese for Christmas – or even spend a day learning the art of cheesemaking – if they can help the budding company to expand.

The Cornish Gouda Company is founded and run by 21-year-old Giel Spierings who scooped an impressive £120k prize fund after winning Ignite 2013, one of Europe’s biggest business start-up competitions, which is organised by Oxford Innovation.

Giel Spierings, owner and creator of Cornish Gouda
Giel Spierings, owner and creator of Cornish Gouda

Spierings, who began the business to make better use of the milk produced on his parents’ dairy farm in Lanreath, used the prize fund to expand production facilities which will allow him to make ten times as much cheese to meet growing demand.

Building work began in January on a larger production and maturing facility at the farm, but now Spierings needs to generate a further £60k to fit out the new space – so the budding entrepreneur has launched the first of a series of Crowdfunder appeals to pay for essential equipment, underfloor heating and cooling units.

The first Crowdfunder project aims to generate £12.5k by May to fund specialist new maturing shelves made from a particular wood which restricts mould growth.

Spierings said: “My ambition is to grow the business to sell 70,000 kilos of cheese a year. Winning Ignite has been a fantastic boost and helped me to start expanding, but now I need help to kit out the new production facilities so I can make and store more Gouda.

“The first Crowdfunder project has already generated £1.2k towards the £12.5k I need for the maturing shelves. If I can raise enough by May, I can start storing more cheese to mature in time to sell by Christmas 2014.”

Crowdfunding works by providing people with a platform to raise money and generate support for individual projects, whilst enabling individuals to invest in an idea they believe in.

By visiting Spierings’ Crowdfunder website page, you can make a donation of an amount ranging from £10 to £2k, and earn a reward.

Rewards range from having an 800g mature Cornish Gouda cheese delivered for Christmas 2014 if you pledge £30 or a professional day of cheese making in return for a £150 donation, with a generous pledge of £2k earning you the right to name the new storage room with a personalised plaque.

Ignite 2014 is now open for budding entrepreneurs to register an interest and those who decide to enter will be able to attend workshops and coaching sessions during the summer before being supported to make a formal entry.