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BOXPARK Croydon Food Business Competition

The BOXPARK Croydon Food Business competition has now closed for applications and we are currently in the process of selecting from the pool of exciting food entrepreneurs to receive mentoring support to win a free pop-up opportunity.

Further details of the offer and timeline of the initiative are provided below.

Updates on those being supported will appear on this page, in our news posts and on social media.

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Imagine being part of this:

Who can enter the competition?

The opportunity is open to Croydon residents or those from surrounding boroughs who have

  • developed a good food concept and may have started a home based food business during lockdowns; or
  • been trading for less than two years and now want to make the next move to a physical site without the major expense that this involves and who want to reach a wider customer base.

Ideally, you will also have, or be working towards

  • a level 3 food hygiene / safety certificate
  • registered your business with Croydon Council or your local authority Food Safety Team if you are not resident in Croydon
  • a good social media following
  • good customer feedback or reviews if you have already started trading

What will successful competitors win?

Three winners will be selected to run a FREE week-long pop-up in September 2022 at Croydon BOXPARK.

The best performing pop-up will be offered the chance to trade at Croydon BOXPARK for up to three months, running their own pop-up kitchen.


We have brought together an amazing group of volunteer mentors from the hospitality and food service industry and wider business including specialists in HR, finance, procurement, supply chain management, electronic payment systems, IT and food production systems.

Find out more about their experiences in the Meet our Mentors section below.

Lorraine Copes

Lorraine is an award-winning social entrepreneur, hospitality consultant and career coach. Having spent two decades working within the hospitality sector, Lorraine was an executive director for brands including Shake Shack, Gordon Ramsay Restaurants and Corbin & King.

Lorraine is passionate about helping others advance and in 2020 felt compelled to form Be Inclusive Hospitality CIC, due to the consistent lack of representation of people of colour in positions of influence, and the supply chain. This social enterprise now holds the prime position of igniting the much-needed conversations, and delivering initiatives to advance change within hospitality, food, and drink sectors.

Her work has been featured in the Evening Standard, Metro, The Caterer, Big Hospitality, Harpers, and the Morning Advertiser.

Lorraine is a judge for Guild of Fine Foods Great Taste Awards, Bold Woman Award UK, by Veuve Clicquot, Uber Eats Restaurant Awards, Purple Umbrella Awards and Top 50 Cocktail Bars.

This year she was named the 2022 GQ Food & Drink Innovator of the year winner, and Be Inclusive Hospitality recognised by NatWest’s SE100, as one of the UK’s most impressive social enterprises. In 2021 Lorraine was recognised as a trailblazing newcomer in NatWest’s SE100 index and shortlisted for the social entrepreneur award and Diversity Equality, and Inclusion by the Precious Awards and Springboard Awards.

Chris Pook

Chris Pook is the owner of Jasper’s Catering Croydon and has run the successful catering business for nearly 10 years.

In that time he has constantly grown the business. During COVID he transitioned to run multiple night time brands that were delivered through delivery partners.

Stuart King

Trained as a chef completing C&G 706 1 and 2 and Diploma in Hotel and Catering in the 1990’s. Worked in various hotels in central London and ran a small catering business doing weddings and events.

Latterly (2000), I helped run a 10 room B&B on the Isle of Wight running the kitchen and a 20 cover restaurant.

I now work in the Payments industry with software vendors across multiple verticals but still work with food service software companies – QSR’s, pay-at-table and in-app ordering, website builds etc.

Adam Bent

Portfolio FD/CFO for start-ups and early stage businesses, working with start-ups and SME founders for over 20 years to help them translate their creative ideas into strategically commercial plans supported by strong financial models.

In 2010 I was CFO at the launch of Chucs, a lifestyle brand located in Mayfair. In 2013 we launched sister company Chucs Bar & Grill, going on to secure VC funding and exiting the business. Chucs went on to build a number of sites before succumbing to the pandemic in 2020 and going under new ownership.

In more recent times I co-founded mental health therapy platform, and now run AM Strategic Consultancy, through which I provide CFO services with a support team to provide other bookkeeping and support services

Iqbal Wahhab OBE

Iqbal Wahhab has built a reputation for delivering world-class excellence through his highly successful restaurant businesses, Roast and The Cinnamon Club. He has exited both restaurants and is planning new ventures developing purpose-driven businesses.

Iqbal has won a number of major awards and accolades during his career. He was voted one of the Top 10 Restaurateurs in Britain in an Independent survey and listed in the Caterer Power 100, GQ 100 Most Connected and The Sunday Times Maserati Top 100 business start-up mentors.

In 2019 he was High Sherriff of Greater London and is Vice President of the Sustainable Restaurants Association.

Nick Smith

Nick is Managing Director of OfficeAnyplace and Webactive, 2 companies providing SMEs with different forms of IT support. He has great experience in helping small businesses make their IT run for them, and was one of the forerunners in Cloud Computing.

His primary current role is co-owner of the Ludoquist Board Games Cafe and Bar, winner of two global awards and widely acknowledged to be in the top few Board Game Cafes in the UK.

Fintan O’Toole

Fintan has owned and managed The HR Dept in South London for 10 years. He advises small businesses on all HR issues having over thirty years’ experience in organisations across a range of industries and markets.

Fintan is legally qualified and specialises in dispute resolution and complex HR matters such as TUPE.

Jasper Wight

Foodservice entrepreneur and manager with 25 years experience across Food-To-Go, Coffee Shops, Street Food, Fast Casual, Direct to Consumer, Cloud Kitchens and Vending, including Caffe Nero, Harris & Hoole, Chop’d (Founder) and Pasta Evangelists. Innovation + Optimisation.

Commerciality + Sustainability. And lots of fun!

Nisha Menon

Nisha is the Director of NIKASU Foods & founder of JACK & CHILL.

NIKASU is a family run business with 2 factories based in India manufacturing Frozen food for over 25 years.

JACK & CHILL is a Jackfruit based brand launched in 2019 with Burgers, Biryani & many Jackfruit meals sold in over 250+ independent shops, restaurants & caterers in UK & Europe.

Nisha has been managing the UK & European business since 2008 and has built a wide customer portfolio incl Wembley stadium, fine dining & celebrity restaurants including Rickstein, TGIF & Frankie & Benny’s.

She 1) Was shortlisted 3 times in Croydon Business Awards

2) Has been featured in BBC news, BBC Radio, FEMINA magazine, Empowered Magazine & TELEGRAPH newspaper.

3) Was nominated to attend the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women summit in London

4) Gives talks at food exhibitions & seminars

5) Mentors university students & aspiring entrepreneurs through her YouTube channel (Nisha Menon Business Talks)

BOXPARK competition timetable

19 May 2022Launch Introduction Awareness Event
17 June 2022Applications close for mentoring and support provision
20-24 June 2022Selection of applicants
Mentors/mentees paired and introduced
27 June - 1 July 2022Mentoring Week 1
4-8 July 2022Mentoring Week 2
11-15 July 2022Mentoring Week 3
18-22 July 2022Mentoring Week 4
27 July 2022Proposal Deadline
w/c 1 August 2022Selection / Assessment of Proposals
Taste Tests
Winners notified and publicised
5-11 September 2022Pop-up 1
12-18 September 2022Pop-up 2
19-25 September 2022Pop-up 3
26 September 2022Preparation of pop-up kitchen for winner of 3 month pop-up
10 October - 31 December 20223 month pop-up

We’d like to thank the HR Dept for their help and support.

The HR Dept
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