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In February, Visionnaires celebrated their 200th graduate, Jay Patel, whose Flavour Street hospitality business is now set to break into a competitive London market. Visionnaires is a social enterprise helping entrepreneurs succeed in business. It is the brainchild of Pablo Lloyd, OBE, and was co-founded with Capital City College Group in 2018. The organisation provides mentors, training and guidance to people looking to start a new business, with programmes created by entrepreneurs providing practical tips and tools.

Jay Patel is new to the hospitality industry and applied to Visionnaires for a mentorship in order to develop key skills.

“I have always been a massive foodie,” says Jay, 29, who studied Economics at the City University of London and was a banker before his career change. “I have family in hospitality and I have always been around it, but had never really done anything about it.

“I was in banking and decided I wanted to try something different. I joined a friend’s start-up, which was then affected by COVID. Out of that, I had the idea for Flavour Street.”

Jay describes his new venture as a “marketplace for home cooks to come online and easily share their food with the local community.” Last year, research group Mintel predicted online food delivery to be “one of the only winners” of the pandemic.

“There is a lot of demand for home-cooked meals at the moment,” explains Jay. “But if you don’t live in Zone 1 or Zone 2, the choice of food gets smaller and smaller. It’s hard to get good quality food outside of central London. The Flavour Street platform lets people with a passion for cooking and furloughed chefs sell their food without the hassle. And consumers can have the trust, too; we have a vetting process for each cook and require hygiene accreditation.”

To take his idea forward, Jay signed up to Visionnaires in December, undergoing an intensive training period in sales, networking and marketing. After a two-week crash course, Jay was placed with mentor Michael Ingemann, Chairman of THINK Hospitality, to develop his business model.

“Michael has a vast knowledge in the industry and a different perspective on things. Working with him helps me zoom out sometimes. Also, he has a wide network of contacts who he has put me in touch with. I think the marketing part of the programme was the most helpful for me. I learnt how to plan out a campaign in a structured way and how to space out posts. Also, I learnt a lot from the other participants in the program too.”

Jay is looking forward to launching his business in south east London, and aims to expand it in the coming months.

Find out more about Visionnaires here.