Business prize is the icing on the cake for Gosport baker

15/12/11   SB''Rhu Strand of Gosport who runs a cake business from her home called - Pimp My Cake with Mama Rhu. Pictured with a fondant santa''Picture: Paul Jacobs (114403-1)
15/12/11 SB''Rhu Strand of Gosport who runs a cake business from her home called - Pimp My Cake with Mama Rhu. Pictured with a fondant santa''Picture: Paul Jacobs (114403-1)

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IT STARTED off as a part-time hobby decorating cakes for her children and friends.

Now Rhu Strand’s business has been named as one of Gosport’s best after she won the town’s economic potential award.

The 49-year-old, of Alver Road, Gosport, set up Pimp My Cake last year to put her self-taught skills to use.

And she has now taken home a top honour from the Gosport Business Awards for showing potential as a new businesswoman.

Rhu said: ‘I was completely blown away when I found out I had won. I was so proud of myself – it means an awful lot to me.

‘It tells me that I’m heading in the right direction and gives me much more confidence in what I am doing.

‘People think cake decorating is a fluffy sort of thing but at the end of the day it is bringing business into Gosport. I’m so thrilled people have recognised that.’

Around three years ago, Rhu spent hours making two birthday cakes for her son and daughter.

After that, she developed a taste for cake decorating and started doing it as a part-time hobby after work.

A year ago she took the plunge and started up her own business which has been a runaway success.

Rhu now runs cake decorating classes from her home in Gosport.

‘I love it because to me each cake is like a little art project,’ Rhu added. ‘I get a lot of satisfaction making them.

‘I did a few teaching sessions and then I decided to start doing more classes from my home.

‘Now that side of my business has really taken off and it’s doing really well.

‘I love teaching and people come along and have a really good time.’

More than 100 people packed into the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, in Haslar Road, Gosport, for the awards ceremony.

The business awards were organised by Gosport Borough Council.

The honours were given out by business representatives, the town’s mayor and Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage.

Councillor Michael Lane, the chairman of Gosport’s economic development board, said: ‘At a time of great challenge for all in business, it was very encouraging to be in a room full of Gosport’s business people who are so evidently doing well.

‘Many of them are at the heart of our community giving local people jobs and opportunities through training and apprenticeship schemes as well as charitable community projects.

‘I was encouraged by the stories that were told and the energy they all have.’

THE WINNERS

TWELVE companies saw off competition from around 50 other businesses in Gosport to be crowned award winners.

· Nursing Home for supporting traders.

· Workforce Investment Award: Affinity Health and Beauty, Fareport Training and Groundwork Solent. All three of these companies provide training opportunities and apprenticeships for young people in Gosport.

· Economic Potential Award: PRS Machining and Pimp My Cake. Both companies were recognised for their steady growth and future potential.

· Economic Growth Award: Gosport Business Centre, Mabway Training and Fortek. Gosport Business Centre has helped hundreds of small firms set up in the town while Mabway and Fortek help bring in new business.

· Economic Investment Award: STS Defence Ltd and Vector Aerospace. Winners in this category must have been set up in Gosport for at least 25 years. STS works in specialist engineering and Vector maintains the armed forces’ helicopter fleet.