WINNER 2018 – Leila Chadwick, K K Fine Foods PLC
Mrs Leyla Edwards, founder of KK Fine Foods, is one of Flintshire’s most successful female entrepreneurs.
In 1987, Leyla was a busy mother of three young children who harnessed her passion for making wholesome food for the family. Last year was the 30th anniversary for Leyla who started KK Fine Foods in her family kitchen at a challenging time, when very few women were visible in the manufacturing industry.
In the 1980’s frozen ready meals were basic in nature and Leyla who was new to the industry was able to take an imaginative approach to her recipes. Innovation, quality & flavour were the cornerstones of the business in 1987 and these are still the qualities that set KK Fine Foods’ apart from the competition today.
Since that initial idea, Leyla has used her ambitious nature, demonstrating passion, drive and perseverance, to build a business that now provides over 400 jobs to the local community at a modern state of the art facility based on Deeside Industrial Park, regularly producing over 1 million meals per week.
Leyla has created a passionate, fast moving business, built on family values and integrity with a forward thinking corporate focus. Leyla, who affectionately refers to her employees as her "extended family" is quoted as saying "We’re not simply manufacturers’ but passionate creators ".
Leyla’s passion, tenacity and entrepreneurial flair has enabled KK Fine Foods to be celebrated through a host of business acknowledgements; which includes:-
The London Stock Exchange Group featuring KK as one of the top 1000 companies to Inspire Britain 2017 and 2018;
28 national British Frozen Food Federation Award’s since 2005 and most recently the prestigious Food Service Product of the Year 2018.
Leyla has and continues to be an inspiration for the next generation of business people and an ambassador and role model for women in business. Leyla has been a Business Dragon and mentor for the Business Entrepreneur Network and has previously won the Flintshire Business Entrepreneur Award and Business Person of the Year Award.
As a woman of achievement in her own right, Leyla accepted an invitation to a reception at Buckingham Palace to recognise women in business and in March 2017 was invited by Prime Minister, Teresa May to number 10 Downing Street to celebrate International Women’s Day.
In September last year, KK Fine Foods entered into a strategic partnership with Belgian company Ter Beke Food Group and KK has recently planned a 60,000 sq ft expansion to the existing factory. This investment will allow KK to double its’ capacity over the next few years.
The family business continues to grow from strength to strength as Samir Edwards, the current Managing Director and Leyla’s son has taken the reigns, enabling Leyla to take a more leisurely approach to enjoying her retirement and concentrating on her other passion as a keen artist.
To sum up, over the past 30 years, Leyla has founded and developed KK Fine Foods to what it is today; along the way creating employment, developing peoples’ skills and ultimately supporting the community of the county of Flintshire.
Leyla has truly been a recipe for success!