Luke cooks up a winning business idea

| Housing | Training

Luke Cooke

Brixton resident Luke Cooke won a Dragons’ Den-style competition organised by Metropolitan, earning himself £2,000 to get his catering business off the ground.

Luke triumphed with his business plan for ‘Cooke’s Family Kitchen’ which serves up a fusion of North American, West Indian and English dishes made with ingredients sourced from local suppliers.

With experience as a chef, he had already been cooking food to order from home for friends and family – but the investment has allowed him to buy the equipment he needs to scale up the business, and cater to the wider local area.

“I’ve been able to buy a fridge-freezer, grill, rice cooker, proper knives, deep-fat fryers – everything I need to get started,” Luke says. “I’ve registered now for online orders with Just Eat – so I should be up and running with them from the start of January.”

Luke was one of 12 entrepreneurs who took part in Metropolitan’s ‘Pitch Your Idea’ project earlier this year to support unemployed Metropolitan residents, or those not in education or training, to start their own businesses.

The project took residents with no previous business experience through a nine-week training programme, providing them with the essential skills needed to successfully develop their ideas. It was delivered by Bright Ideas Trust, a charity which helps young entrepreneurs with training and support.

At the end of the programme, the participants pitched their business ideas to a panel of experts, including: Tim Campbell, Bright Ideas Trust founder and a former winner of BBC’s The Apprentice; Streatham MP and former Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna; and Councillor Lib Peck, the Leader of Lambeth Council.

Luke says: “Pitching to the judges at the end was nerve-wracking – and winning it meant a lot. It was proof to me that my business idea was good and something that I can make a success of. In the next few years, I want to move into premises of my own – so when I’m looking for more investment again in the future, I feel confident that I have good experience behind me.”

Find Luke on Facebook and Instagram @cookesfamilykitchen, and on Twitter @cookesfamfood.