Local business first to participate in development academy

Steph Fulton, Director of Wee Choco was full of praise for the Academy:
Steph Fulton, Director of Wee Choco was full of praise for the Academy:

Itty Bitty Book Company are one of the first companies from Northern Ireland to take part in Asda’s Social Enterprise Development Academy.

The aim of the academy is increasing the availability of products for ethically-minded consumers on supermarket shelves.

Delivered in partnership with Social Investment Scotland, the NI companies’ participation is funded by Asda. They will join eight similar social enterprises from Scotland to enhance their understanding of supermarket retailing and refine their commercial and marketing skills.

The initiative builds on the success of Asda’s existing Supplier Development Academy which has boosted trading opportunities for a wide range of food and drink suppliers across Northern Ireland. The Itty Bitty Book Company, a design and craft company which focuses on promoting positivity, and Wee Choco, which trains people with learning difficulties and autism to make luxury chocolate bars, were nominated to participate by Social Enterprise Northern Ireland. They will benefit from grant funding to cover training modules at Asda House in Leeds with topics ranging from consumer purchasing to branding, packaging and design. The NI-based social enterprises will also have access to advice and mentoring from Asda’s senior team.

Charlotte Cool, Asda’s Vice President for Corporate Affairs said: “At Asda we take great pride in supporting the communities we serve. We provide a lot of support to local suppliers in Northern Ireland to grow their business, many of whom have introduced their products to our stores across the UK.”

Astra McNichnoll, owner of Itty Book Company was also very positive: “The first session at Asda House was a real eye-opener. Our business is based on the power of positive thinking for communities and I found the Academy to be very inspiring. It has given me a lot to think about, encouraging me to apply the learnings and take our business to the next level.”