Sheffield Hallam graduate launches £10k campaign to open chocolate cafe

Chocolate and caffeine – two of life’s guilty pleasures and now a Sheffield Hallam University graduate is hoping to combine them with his new business venture.

Max Scotford, aged 25, who is owner of bean-to-bar confectionary firm Bullion Craft Chocolate, is planning to open a new café in Sheffield, where chocoholics and caffeine lovers can enjoy their favourite indulgences.

The former Sheffield Business School BSc events management graduate has launched a crowdfunding campaign with a difference to achieve his dream of opening the café next to his planned factory in Kelham Island’s new Cutlery Works food hall, which was granted planning permission recently.

Last night he launched his Kickstarter campaign to attract funding with supporters able to pledge as little as £5 and receive incentives such as free coffee, factory tours, T-shirts and chocolate making classes in return. Max set up his bean-to-bar craft chocolate company in January 2017 and is currently based at New Mesters works in Mowbray Street, Sheffield.

His move to Kelham Island marks an expansion for his factory and he also wants to open his café next door.

Since launching his business, Max has enjoyed an award-winning year – collecting The Academy of Chocolate’s gold, silver and bronze accolades and supplying upmarket stores including Harvey Nichols and Fenwick.

He has received plaudits for his products from food industry experts including Martin Nail, chief executive of Claridge’s hotel in London.

Max said: “If we do it and raise the money through crowd-funding, it would just be amazing. This would be our first café outlet and it would be thanks to the people who have donated. It’s so exciting and I can’t wait for supporters to be part of the journey.”

Professor Kevin Kerrigan, pro vice chancellor for enterprise and Sheffield Business School at Sheffield Hallam University said: “I am delighted to hear of Max’s success to date and pleased that the business skills he learnt at SBS have helped him set up such a successful enterprise which will contribute to the regional economy and create jobs.

“We wish him every success with his crowd-funding venture.”

Max uses the little known bean-to-bar manufacturing process taking some of the most sought-after cacao on the planet and working with the beans to extract distinct flavours, which are showcased within the chocolate.

He aims to create superior quality chocolate which is viewed in the same light as fine wine, cheese and speciality coffee.