Owning a business may be a challenge, but it also offers a greater amount of flexibility to sit within people’s lives when other factors are in play.
Ms Kompal Khurana’s journey is the perfect example of this. Working in finance before moving into banking, Kompal’s long hours, lengthy commutes and set times of working were adding a strain and it soon became clear that change was needed.
A passion for cooking Indian cuisine was already burning brightly, but a door needed to open to turn Kompal’s enthusiasm into a career.
“I was struggling with my full-time job, and my health, so I went to the job centre to try and find something more flexible,” Kompal began.
“When I was there, they told me about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity.”
Before reaching the point of receiving a £20,000 interest-free business loan from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity in December 2021, Kompal had already been working hard to establish Sisters Indian Street Food with a unique cooking style and network of customers.
“We started in Market Harborough, cooking Indian cuisine in a small shop on the weekends,” she recalled.
“We were only doing two days a week, so we were progressing, but progressing slowly. We spent some time looking at our customers, what they want, and the society we were in. People like Indian food, but want more variety and options with what they eat. To survive and be competitive in the market, we had to think of new ideas and products.
“We made vegetarian food for a couple of years and then in 2018, we started doing non-vegetarian as well, introducing Indian street food. This was mainly Asian and Indian cuisine, with dishes such as kebabs, lamb curries, chicken curries and more. With my background and knowledge, particularly with nutrition, I know how to make good taste, while understanding the food chemically and how it is presented physically.”
Having started out in that small shop in Market Harborough, attending events became a regular feature of Sisters Indian Street Food’s calendar – an element of progress which The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s financial support aided greatly.
“We used to hire a van, but we wanted our own food van which is why I approached the Charity for support. We got it and here we are,” Kompal added.
“After beginning in Market Harborough, we started doing more stalls in different areas. We attended festivals, fun days and celebrations in Stockport, Peterborough, London and in the Leicester area. We did car shows in Stratford and in Northampton, where we were very popular and in demand.
“With that, our contacts started growing. I was doing a car show in Billing, Northampton, and somebody loved my food when he tasted it so he invited me to his show – another car show, but much bigger. It was in Stafford and was double the size to where we’d been before. We’re now on the list for Stafford and Billing, so they are my repeat clients. Before we open our window, people are waiting for my food! I’m very thankful that I’m in this position now. To establish the infrastructure at the start took up lots of energy, but now we are in a good place. I’m very thankful to the Charity. I used the money for my van – the decoration, bills and everything else. I’m really happy with it. The money has helped to make this business more successful.”
It’s clear from Kompal’s own words that the interest-free business loan from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity helped to accelerate progress at a time when it was needed most, taking a wonderful local business to a new level of stature. All the way from application to approval, the Charity was proud to support Kompal every step of the way.
“If you need support, the Charity is there,” Kompal said when asked to evaluate the level of support available throughout the process.
“Because I had a background in finance I think that made the application easier for me, but they have so much support in place to help you. I was glad that I asked questions, because they gave me a bigger picture of who the Charity are, how they can support and how everything works.
“They get you ready for the interview, making sure you are prepared and making it clear what is expected of you,” Kompal continued.
“They feed your mind also – making sure that you are ready for the money and checking it’s the best thing for you at that moment in time. At the end of the day, the loan is interest free but it still has to be paid back, so it’s a big decision and the Charity help you to think about all of this. They analyse you, and your potential. All of the help was free, and I am very thankful for this. If somebody is thinking they can’t go ahead with the application because the accounting side is too complicated, I’d say please do not worry. The Charity can help you with this.
“Before finding out about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity I was looking at other loans, with high interest. But instead, the Charity supported me and that was a great thing to happen. I appreciate everything they have done.”
To find out more about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free business loans, which are available up to the value of £20,000, interest free for nine years, please click here