A Shropshire-based homemade garlic confit provider, Bella’s Garlic, has secured £7,500 in funding from First Enterprise – Enterprise Loans under the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme to kickstart the business. 

Bella’s Garlic, claims to be the first business to produce garlic confit in England, offers hand-crafted confectioned garlic that can be used to add flavour to a variety of dishes such as meat, pasta or salads. It serves as a practical substitute for fresh garlic, without the need for peeling or dealing with garlic smell on the fingers. 

Mary Ann Republica, Founder of Bella’s Garlic, has a decade of experience in the food and hospitality industry. After escaping domestic violence with her daughter, she is motivated to utilise her skills and business degree to establish her own start up, with an aim to become financially independent. Mary Ann recently completed an online course on Food Safety and Hygiene for Manufacturing and Food Labelling Regulations, furthering her knowledge in the field. 

The funding from First Enterprise – Enterprise Loans will be used for purchasing essential equipment such as cookers, sterilisers, acquiring ingredients to produce garlic confit, and investing in marketing collaterals such as labels, banners and stands. 

First Enterprise – Enterprise Loans provides government-backed business loans ranging from £500 – £250,000 for start-ups and SMEs that are unable to borrow from traditional high-street lenders. The not-for-profit organisation reinvests any surplus into loan funds to further support economic growth and job creation in the local communities. 

Mary Ann Republica, Founder of Bella’s Garlic, comments: “The approved loan provides my business with the necessary resources to kick off and enhance its online presence. I expect to see wider distribution of my product across stores in the UK. I am grateful for the invaluable guidance and transparent support provided by my business adviser from First Enterprise – Enterprise Loans throughout the application process.” 

Forbes Lucas, Business Adviser at First Enterprise – Enterprise Loans, comments: “Working to help Mary Ann through the application process was a real pleasure for me as she was so polite, kind, and professional. Mary Ann is a credit to First Enterprise and our ability to support new businesses. I can’t wait to see how Bella’s Garlic develops and grows, as Mary Ann deserves every success.” 

Richard Bearman, Managing Director of Small Business Lending, British Business Bank commented: “Mary Ann is an inspiring business owner given her situation escaping domestic violence and now having the confidence to start and hopefully scale her business, Bella’s Garlic. We’re delighted Mary Ann has been provided with guidance and support from Forbes at First Enterprise – Enterprise Loans – as this is what Start Up Loans is all about, more than finance but also mentoring and helping aspiring business owners develop their plans and projections so that they have a greater chance of succeeding.”