A CHANCE trip to Brussels gave Leanne Hogg a business idea.

Now the 51-year-old former charity worker has invested £25,000 into the launch of Hog-a-Waffle on Redcar High Street.

During her Brussels trip, she tried her first Belgian-style waffles. “Everyone loves desserts, and I knew then that I wanted to bring together sweet and savoury food options within a pudding parlour style environment,” she said.

“The range of items we have on our menu have been incredibly popular with customers. Our most ordered dish is without doubt Nutella with strawberries on a sweet waffle but equally we do a great meat feast!

“We have a little something for everyone and we get customers who come from far and wide for a sweet pick-me-up to enjoy.”

She received help from TEDCO Business Support and Virgin StartUp to launch the business.

“Having a business adviser on hand during the start-up phase was really valuable as it can be a testing time trying to turn your idea into a trading enterprise,” said Leanne.

“Given my background was more research and teaching-based, Hog-a-Waffle was always going to be a challenging new venture. It combines elements of retail with food preparation and I had to approach the planning phase carefully to ensure I had the knowledge, skills and funds to make it work.

“Thankfully, I was supported by TEDCO to successfully receive a £25,000 low-cost business loan from Virgin StartUp to fund the initial costs of the business.

“The set-up, premises, equipment, everything that was needed, I was able to manage through the Government-backed financing from Virgin StartUp. It really was a brilliant start to the business.”

She eventually hopes to expand into other areas – possibly Guisborough – and is also looking into home and work deliveries.

Mark Johnston, business adviser at TEDCO Business Support, said: “Leanne has an incredibly positive attitude and real growth plans for the Hog-a-Waffle concept and has already built up a loyal following in the local area.

“It’s been a real pleasure working with Leanne throughout her start-up journey and I’m looking forward to seeing how the business can develop in the future.”