Sowerby Bridge's Dama Cheese shines light on UK start-ups

Razan Alsous at Dama Cheese
Razan Alsous at Dama Cheese

A business owner from Calderdale has been chosen to represent successful UK start-ups by the Government-backed Start Up Loans Company.

Yorkshire Dama, of Victoria Road, Sowerby Bridge, is one of six start-ups that have been selected from amongst this year’s top success stories for the Ambassador Programme.

HRH The Princess Royal visiting Syrian refugee Razan Alsous at Dama Cheese

HRH The Princess Royal visiting Syrian refugee Razan Alsous at Dama Cheese

Yorkshire Dama Cheese is a cheese production business launched in 2012 by Razan Alsous and her husband after they fled war-torn Syria.

After struggling to secure a job in pharmaceuticals in the UK, she decided to launch her own business.

Ms Alsous said: “When I arrived in the UK, I was surprised at how popular halloumi is, but by how little choice there was in supermarkets.

“I wanted to create a local Yorkshire product, using a combination of cow’s milk and exciting authentic flavours from my home country.

“Luckily, I was able to use my experience in science to help make the cheese, paired with my husband’s experience working with food retailers.”

She added: “We’re very excited to be chosen as an Ambassador for the scheme, and we want to show others that no matter what challenges you face, if you have a great business idea, give it a go.”

The launch of the Ambassador programme comes as the Start Up Loans Company, which was established in 2012, announced it has provided over 50,000 loans to British start-ups, bringing the total it has lent so far to more than £345m.

In Yorkshire, where Yorkshire Dama Cheese is based, the scheme has provided almost 4,000 loans to new and early stage businesses, totalling over £28m.

The year-long Ambassador programme was launched at a reception in London in September.