Former footballer scores with cereal bar launch

A START-UP food business launched by a vegan former Everton footballer has raised £500,000 to begin commercial production for his commercial cereal bars.

Neil Robinson, 55, from Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, said the nut and seed-free vegan-friendly product will go on sale later this month under the brand name Frank.

Having made the bar in his home kitchen, Mr Robinson has done a deal with a third-party manufacturer to produce Frank, which has won an order with a Glasgow-based supplier to 2,500 corner shops.

Mr Robinson was advised in the fund-raising by Manchester-based corporate finance boutique Acceleris, a specialist in helping start-ups raise capital.

In this case the funds were raised under the Enterprise Investment Scheme and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, two government instruments which offer tax relief for investments in start-up and growing companies.

Acceleris also gave Mr Robinson strategic advice on where to target the product, work up a business plan and also appoint a new board.

Chief executive Norman Molyneux said: “They had a business plan which was centred on getting the bar listed in the major supermarkets. That was the first thing we said no to.

“What we talked to them about was a strategy of taking it into convenience stores and specialised outlets like Holland & Barrett and gyms. The aim is to get the product out there and let people see it, with a view to the major retailers then asking us to supply them.”