Case Study 11


The Accelerator Programme has already benefited dozens of businesses in Lincolnshire. Here are some shining examples of business owners who have made a commitment to the success of their businesses by participating on previous Accelerators.

Hawkens Gingerbread


Grantham Born & Bread

Alastair, born and (ginger) bred in Grantham, set about saving the UK’s oldest gingerbread biscuit. First baked in Grantham in 1740, the baked treat fell out of favour. Alastair knew there was a local market for an artisan biscuit with a rich history.

By the time the Accelerator programme began, Alastair had secured Oldrids & Downtown plus Lincolnshire Co-op as stockists of Hawkens Gingerbread. The only way was up for this thriving business.

Hawkens Gingerbread


Growing skills alongside an entrepreneurial spirit

Alastair is the first to admit that as an entrepreneur, he doesn’t struggle with great ideas but needs support when bringing them to life.

To take Hawkens Gingerbread from a local biscuit to a nationwide nibble, he needed help scaling the business.

Alastair said that the £10,000 grant opportunity at the end of the programme is what lured him in. However, on completing the course, it was something that he considered to be the icing on the cake.

By accessing academic minds through the Accelerator, he could use their knowledge, grow his skills and set about making those entrepreneurial dreams become a reality.

The Solution

Scaling dizzying heights

The knowledge Alastair gained from the Accelerator programme has helped him improve his sales process. He says that the course has “given me the skills to understand my sales infrastructure. I know what I need to do for it to be rock solid. This will be a key activity that helps us achieve our goals”.

In 36 months, the team want to scale the business substantially. Taking it from a £200,000 company to one with a 2-million-pound turnover.

Hawkens Gingerbread also wants their gingerbread biscuit to become a 100% British product. The first of its kind. They’re currently looking at ways to grow and source spices in the UK. The Accelerator programme has opened Lincoln University doors allowing the business to draw on their agricultural insight.

Hawkens Gingerbread
Alsitair Hawken

The Verdict

From the entrepreneur

On the Accelerator Programme, Alastair says, “I don’t know ‘all of it’ despite being in business for over 20 years. The knowledge and skills that I’ve gained are invaluable. Yes, the £10,000 grant opportunity is a selling point, but you really do get so much more from taking part.”

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