Founders of start-up business mentored by entrepreneur Levi Roots

By Perkin Amalaraj
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The founders of a soul food start-up business have been given a mentoring session with Levi Roots, one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Daniel Opoku-Baah and Khamisi McKenzie founded Drum and Flats in 2018 from their Peckham family kitchen, perfecting recipes handed down by their mothers and grandmothers.

They were mentored by businessman Levi Roots at the end of October as part of Get Mentored, Get Growing, a new campaign by BT and Google that aims to give one-to-one mentoring sessions about online marketing to small businesses.

Khamisi said the mentoring session left a deep impression on them: “Levi Roots is a major hero of ours, and it was incredible to hear about his own experiences of turning his passion for Caribbean food into such a huge commercial success.”

The pair, both born and raised in Peckham, opened their first business in Peckham, before doing the same in Boxpark, Wembley in 2018.

They are now based in The Smugglers Tavern, near Regent’s Park.

Daniel and Khamisi have been friends for 20 years, after they met at school.

Sharing a love of “feel-good food”, they sold burgers at Chelsea and Crystal Palace football matches as teenagers.

Khamisi said the global pandemic forced them to innovate and look for new ways to grow their business.

The pair created cook-at-home kits and branched out into making Drum and Flat merchandise.

Levi Roots gained widespread fame after he appeared on BBC 2’s Dragons’ Den, where he received £50,000 in investment for his Reggae Reggae Sauce.

The Brixton businessman said his experience on Dragons’ Den opened his eyes to the power that mentoring had.

He said: “Running your own business can sometimes be overwhelming and lonely, so I know how game-changing it was to work with someone who could understand and appreciate my challenges and ambitions, and give me the support to help me build and grow my business.”

The businessman also has roots in music. He has performed with legendary musicians James Brown and Maxi Priest, and was also nominated as Best Reggae Act at the 1996 MOBO Awards.

As part of the Get Mentored, Get Growing campaign, Levi Roots and businesswoman Liz Earle will give advice to small UK businesses.

According to BT research, nearly half of all small UK businesses said they were worried their business would not survive without external support.

BT said that since the 2019 launch of Skills for Tomorrow, its free digital skills campaign, 300,000 UK small business owners and employees have been trained in digital skills and marketing.

Google said it had trained more than 700,000 business owners who have received training through its Digital Garage programme.

Managing director of Google UK Ronan Harris said that digital skills were key to helping the UK recover from the pandemic.

He said: “Equipping small businesses with the digital tools needed to grow and succeed is not only integral to future proofing the UK business landscape, but it’s the next step in the UK’s journey to economic recovery.”

Picture: Daniel Opoku-Baah and Khamisi McKenzie With Levi Roots

 

 


 

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