£25k Virgin StartUp Loan Makes City Centre Café Dream a Reality

A former HR advisor from Poland has swapped office life for a new business venture as the owner of Vescio’s Kitchen in central Newcastle, thanks to support from TEDCO and Virgin StartUp.  

TEDCO Business advisor, Bill Hartshorne with Patricia Poliszuk, owner of Vescio’s Kitchen

Patricia Poliszuk (26) has launched the salad and sandwich café to offer new and healthy alternatives to customers, drawing inspiration from her Polish and Italian family influences to create a diverse menu of lunchtime classics.

The cafe has been opened following assistance from TEDCO Business Support and the RGF-funded Start and Grow programme to help Patricia access much-needed financing from Virgin StartUp.  Virgin Start-Up is the not-for-profit organisation offering low-cost, government-backed business loans to new enterprises in the UK. 

Patricia comments:   

“When I relocated from London earlier in the year I had every intention of carrying on in my career as an HR advisor but with only temporary contracts available, I began to reconsider what my passion really was in a professional sense.

“I had always wanted to follow in the footsteps of my mother who had her own business but running a café was a bit of a dream for me that I never actually considered with any real conviction.”

“But as luck would have it, just as I was looking for a job in Newcastle I spotted premises available near Waterloo street and the idea for Vescio’s Kitchen just popped into my head and never went away.  I took it as a sign that I had to make good on my own promises and just go for it”

Vescio’s Kitchen is committed to serving freshly prepared sandwiches, salads and smoothies as well as a range of sweet treats and hot drinks.  The menu was very much designed around the residents of local office buildings who were canvassed extensively by Patricia prior to opening as part of her market research into what food and drink options the customers in the immediate vicinity would welcome.

“I learnt pretty quickly that this end of the city is known for its fast food and takeaways” Patricia comments.  “Whilst great for late night revellers there is also a high number of office workers in this particular part of town looking for healthy options for lunch and we wanted to try and fill that gap as much as we possibly could with a wide-ranging menu of interesting options to tempt the lunchtime customer.”

“We’ve actually become quite well-known for our hot sandwiches and interesting flavour combinations – you just can’t beat a hot roast meat sandwich on a cold day!”

Patricia worked with Bill Hartshorne at TEDCO Business Support as part of the Start and Grow programme to help get the business ready to launch thanks to a start-up loan from not-for-profit organisation, Virgin StartUp.  TEDCO is the exclusive delivery partner in the North East for the government-backed business loans from Virgin StartUp with finance from as little as £5,000 up to £25,000 available for new ventures. 

Patricia comments: 

“Bill has been just fantastic.  He was and still is a great support and literally a hive of knowledge when it came to helping get Vescio’s Kitchen ready to start trading as he has a great deal of experience working with people in similar situations to me.  Most importantly, we worked one-to-one to get my business plan primed and investment ready to apply for the Virgin StartUp loan which was essential to help me with the initial opening costs.  We successfully received £25,000 which financed everything from buying equipment to fitting out the café.”

Vescio’s Kitchen recently expanded into offsite catering services and employs two members of staff – something with Patricia is particularly proud of. 

Patricia comments:

“When I first started working I remember thinking how frustrating it was that employers demanded so much experience of young people but were unwilling to offer opportunities to actually gain that experience in their establishment.  When I set up Vescio’s Kitchen I wanted to try and upskill my staff members and offer them contracts to fit around the pressures of life, whether that be family or studying.  I am thrilled to be able to offer people opportunities to learn skills in my business and our two current members of staff work very flexibly around their other commitments, which suits the business.”

Vescio’s Kitchen was supported by TEDCO as part of the Start and Grow programme, delivered by TEDCO Business Support in the North East and supported by the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).  The programme is delivered throughout England by Cavendish Enterprise in areas where there are lower levels of business start-up to help new enterprises get up and running and develop new employment opportunities in the private sector with a range of services, including one-to-one mentoring, business planning and helping new ventures get investment ready. 

Bill Hartshorne, TEDCO Business Advisor said:

“Patricia has worked incredibly hard to open Vescio’s Kitchen and brings real enthusiasm and drive to her business.  Like many people in her situation, she had limited experience of how to run an enterprise and the many considerations required to ensure the business was successful. I was able to work closely with Patricia through the Start and Grow programme to not only help with the many and varied aspects of running a business but also get Vescio’s Kitchen ready to apply for a loan through the Virgin StartUp programme.  I have absolute confidence in Patricia’s business plan and expect that she will continue to make a name for Vescio’s Kitchen as a must-visit establishment for food that really delivers.”