Chef Akila
Chef Akila a family business established in 2018

A five year multi-million pound programme which was part funded through European Structural and Investment Funds and Bradford Council has been hailed a great success.

The Keighley Community Led Local Development (CLLD) small scale business grants scheme was part of the programme, supporting entrepreneurs and existing enterprises to accelerate business growth and stimulate new job creation.

Successes from the scheme include Chef Akila, Knobbles and Bobbles and 2nd Nature Cleaning who have all been able grow their business thanks to the grant administered by Bradford Council and support and guidance provided by partners, Participate Projects and Invest In Bradford.

Chef Akila, a family business established in 2018, produces and sells gourmet South Indian food online and direct to selected businesses.

Participate Projects provided Chef Akila with business diagnostic support and assisted with the application process to successfully secure a small business grant of £7,500 from Bradford Council. This funding meant they were able to equip the kitchen in their new production facility much quicker than would otherwise have been possible. This has enabled them to quadrupled the production capacity of the business and led to the recruitment of more staff. With an increase in business growth Chef Akila plan to take on apprentices and upskill staff with additional training.

Selvarani Kumar, Director at Chef Akila, said: “The grant enabled us to procure more equipment and finish the kitchen fit-out project. We were also able to employ new kitchen staff and work more closely with suppliers as production increased.”

Knobbles and Bobbles was established in 2013 by Lucy Chadwick after many years of work within the furniture industry. The business provides unique accessories to make the upcycling of furniture as affordable as possible, keeping costs low to pass on the savings to customers.

During the pandemic the business’ online sales grew rapidly resulting in the need for larger premises. Participate Projects, the Council’s Invest In Bradford Team and business grants scheme worked in partnership with Lucy to provide enterprise coaching, identify areas for development and growth, and helped to secure a grant of £4,400 to help purchase a new racking system for stock.

Lucy Chadwick from Knobbles and Bobbles, said: “Accessing the grant would not have been possible without the help of Participate Projects along with the ongoing support of Bradford Council. It has given us a massive boost that our business needed.”

2nd Nature Cleaning was established by Sarah Wilson in 2009 and now employs 28 staff. Specialising in the commercial cleaning of businesses, the business also sources and supplies janitorial products.

Sarah wanted to expand the number of jobs the business could take on but was limited due to transport. Business diagnostics and coaching with a dedicated Participate Projects adviser, helped Sarah to identify the areas that required the most attention and investment. They also provided grant application assistance.

Sarah received £7,500 from Bradford Council’s small business grants scheme, which has been used towards the purchase of an MG4 electric vehicle. The zero-emission car can travel up to 281 miles on a single charge and has been supplied with a range of smart technology that will help the business reduce running costs when compared to a non-electric vehicle.

Sarah Wilson, Owner of 2nd Nature Cleaning, said: “Expanding the business wouldn’t have been possible without the grant and the support with the application process from Participant Projects.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and transport, said: “It’s great to see the positive benefit of this grant funding on these fantastic Keighley businesses. These are just a few of the success stories from the Keighley CLLD scheme. We will be sharing more on the successes over the coming weeks and months.”

For more information about the help and support provided to businesses by Bradford Council visit