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Iconic Bakes, Olushola Bukoye

Support from LSBU's Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme should see former student Olushola Bukoye's baking enterprise grab an extra slice of the action

As a graduate of the School for Applied Sciences, Olushola Bukoye set up her Buks Bakes business in 2014 and was awarded a place on LSBU’s Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme for 2017/18. As a master baker, she participated in the BBC’s British Bake Off Extra Slice in 2016.

An opportunity to improve

Olushola says that she took part in the graduate enterprise scheme – three years into her own enterprising endeavours – because it “is a very good opportunity for me to improve my business. I saw it as a chance to evaluate my business, rebrand and scale up its operation, with the support of experts and mentors.

“I am attending a lot of business programmes and seminars, which are very helpful in the development of my business. In so doing, I have learnt how to understand my market, how to attract the ideal customers, develop pricing strategies and organise my accounts. I strongly feel that these are important tools and skillsets in developing a contemporary business. Overall, I would say that I am getting a lot out of it so far. The highlight for me has been receiving the full support of the Enterprise team. They are always giving you expert advice and guidance. Thanks to this, we were able to rebrand and rename my business.”

Iconic creations for every occasion

Setting up Buks Bakes in 2014 on a part-time basis, Olushola committed herself to it fully after completion of her MSc in Food Safety and Control. Now called Iconic Bakes, the business produces made-to-order personalised wedding cakes and celebration cakes, which are unique to every individual and celebration.

“I’m really enjoying running my own business, and my goals are to keep delivering quality baked products in real time as well as teaching baking, food safety and control. Having recently concluded an MSc in Food Safety and Control course, I believe that the proposed training arm of my business will be a real asset, should help to enhance LSBU’s profile and the UK economy at large. My classes will be offered to enthusiastic youths, women who are both employed or need to return to work, and other interested Londoners. This will greatly improve social inequality by ensuring that more youths and women are able to gain valuable skills and an income,” she says.

“Statistically, in the United Kingdom a considerable amount of bakery products are consumed yearly, yet there are still some health concerns with companies, particularly SMEs, which provide these bakery products. This can be attributed to a number of reasons, but is primarily a result of the inadequate or non-implementation of food safety management systems. I hope to help educate people and start to implement a change.”

The full range of support to move forward

With Iconic Bakes all set for a bright future, how important does Olushola feel the support from LSBU has been so far? “LSBU has been supportive in so many different ways. First, I have been able to gain access to experienced mentors. Personally, my mentor supports me to achieve milestones, produce business trademarks and intellectual properties, alongside other things. Second, I am provided with an office space for my administrative works. Finally, there’s opportunity for financial support to upscale my business. Combined together, these things put you in a much stronger position for taking your business forward.”

And finally, how was the experience of appearing on TV? “I really enjoyed being a participant in the Great British bake off Extra Slice. It was a great experience to see how TV studios are set up, see the show before it was aired, see Jo Brand and network with other bakers. More importantly though, it was a great opportunity to directly understand the expectations and perceptions of renowned bakers, something that I will keep in mind as Iconic Bakes continues to grow.”