Chocolatier set for expansion after £250,000 funding boost

A Stamford-based chocolatier business has secured a £250,000 MEIF loan to help meet increasing demand for its products from the UK and overseas.

Firetree Chocolate has landed the finance from The FSE Group Debt Finance Fund, part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) and backed by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Set up in 2016, Firetree Chocolate manufactures rich volcanic chocolate and focuses on sourcing and sustainability. The company sources cocoa beans direct from farmers in the remote volcanic islands of the South Pacific and Madagascar, where the volcanic minerals produce a unique bean and taste. The beans are imported to the UK and crafted into chocolate by expert chocolatiers at its factory, before being wrapped in packaging depicting the volcanoes from where the beans were sourced.

Firetree Chocolate’s products are all dairy free and suitable for vegans, Halal, Kosher and those with lactose intolerance.

David Zulman, co-founder and managing director of Firetree Chocolate, said: “Although Firetree, along with other businesses, has been operating differently during the pandemic, we have adjusted well to the new normal and are encouraged to see demand for our product increasing.

“We take immense pride in what we do, working closely and directly with our farmers and creating single estate super-premium quality chocolate to delight our consumers.

“I would like to thank Paul at The FSE Group for helping us through the funding process which will assist in supporting the day-to-day sales, distribution and operations process whilst we plan ahead for an exciting future.”

Paul Lynam, fund manager, at The FSE Group, which manages the MEIF Debt Finance Fund added: “We are proud to have supported Firetree throughout this process. The loan will support David and the team in their ambitions to continue to develop the brand and increase sales into 2021 and beyond. The FSE Group is committed to providing finance for innovative Midlands-based businesses and we wish them well for the future.”

Lewis Stringer, senior manager at the British Business Bank said: “The MEIF offers a range of funding options which can be used to support different business needs. Having previously secured an equity investment from MEIF fund managers Foresight Group, this latest funding package for Firetree Chocolate will play a key role in the business improving its operations. We would encourage other Midlands’ businesses to consider the finance available through the MEIF.”