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Business success a ‘no-grainer’ for Swansea-based bread start-up

A 24-year-old entrepreneur is ‘breaded’ for success following the launch of her one-of-a-kind baked bread bowl business.

Hannah Worth, a Swansea University Business graduate, launched Bowla in April 2023 with the support of Big Ideas Wales, after securing her own pilot stall in Swansea indoor market.

For the past eight months, Hannah has been feeding the people of Swansea baked bread bowls filled with a range of hearty fillings, from traditional Welsh lamb cawl to vegan spicy meatballs.

Since opening its first location, the business has hosted a pop-up event at Mumbles Market, catered large corporate lunches, and has received multiple awards including three awards from the National Market Traders Federation, the UK’s national body for market and street traders, the South Wales Regional Food and Drink Award and the Swansea Local Food and Drink Award.

Discussing the inspiration behind Bowla, Hannah said: “My father stumbled across the idea for Bowla nearly two decades ago after he bought a bread making machine from a charity shop. His first attempt at baking bread didn’t go too well and the loaf mushroomed over and resembled a top hat, sparking the idea for Bowla bread.

“I grew up listening to this funny story and decided I wanted in on it too. So, I studied a masters in business and launched the business alongside him. I’ve since made it my mission to make Bowla a unique staple that can only be found here in Swansea.”

In the throes of inspiration Hannah’s dad, Clayton, produced, patented and trademarked three different sized aluminum Bowla molds. But it was Hannah’s determination to raise Bowla’s profile by hosting giveaways, creating online polls, and producing seasonal menus that propelled the start up to the forefront of the Welsh food scene.

Since launching, Hannah has been featured in Bakery Business and British Baker and has also been nominated for two Business Growth awards in Wales – the New on the Scene and Food, Drink, and Hospitality awards. Bowla has also seen a 30% increase in profits since registering on food delivery apps Deliveroo and Uber Eats –to bring Bowla into people’s homes.

Hannah launched Bowla with the support of Big Ideas Wales, a Welsh Government funded service that, as part of Business Wales, aims to support anyone between the age of five and 25 to develop a business idea, including students and graduates, as part of its commitment to the Young Person’s Guarantee.

Shortly after contacting them, Hannah was paired with business advisor Mikayla Bloomfield who helped her not only refine Bowla’s business plan but put the young entrepreneur forward for the Young Person’s Start Up Grant.

Following a successful application, Hannah used the grant funding to invest in bespoke Bowla branded uniforms for herself and the family and friends who all volunteer at the stall, a card reader, flyers, customer loyalty cards, banners, and other essential supplies needed to formally establish Bowla’s first trading site in Swansea’s indoor market.

Discussing the support she received from Big Ideas Wales, Hannah said: “When I decided to launch Bowla, I was very lucky to have a business degree behind me. But it’s completely different when you are doing it for real. Mikayla was a huge support system. Having launched her own business in a market in the past, she was able to give me tailored, first-hand advice.”

Business advisor, Mikayla Bloomfield said: “I was happy to support in Hannah achieving her goals, her knowledge from her business degree made her very well versed in business processes. However, I know from my own experiences that running a stall in a market can be quite challenging, especially during a cost-of-living crisis so I was glad to offer advice where I could. Hannah’s willingness to succeed has really driven Bowla forward and has established itself as a unique lunchtime option for Swansea locals and visitors alike.”

In the coming months, Hannah hopes to utilise Big Ideas Wales’ service further by taking part in its online workshops on marketing and business management to explore new ways of growing Bowla outside of Swansea and showcase it to a national audience. She aspires one day to integrate Bowla into the global market, making the bread bowls and unique Bowla merchandise available to buy online.

Hannah hopes that the skills she will acquire from the workshops will help her to continue to reinforce the structure of the business and build Bowla further as a brand that prides itself on originality and heart.

Angus Phillips, Enterprise Support Officer at Swansea University adds: “We were lucky enough to support Hannah’s start-up journey whilst she undertook her Business degree at Swansea University. After a number of pre-start support meetings, we introduced her to our enterprise funding competition, The Big Pitch, in which she was awarded six-months’ worth of mentorship and grant funding to help develop and launch her business.

“Since opening her store in Swansea, Hannah has joined a number of our events on-campus and across the region to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, as well as starring in our student start-up video series on YouTube.”

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