Wade Lyn, Cleone Foods Ltd

Wade came to Britain from Jamaica at the age of seven to join his parents. From an early age, Wade had a strong work ethic instilled in him and helped out with the family business, even whilst at school.

After completing his degree in the mid-80s, Wade got a job in a small company that made patties. After working for them for two years and becoming frustrated at their failure to recognise the potential of selling their products to a mainstream market, Wade set up Cleone Foods Ltd in 1989 after identifying his own unique selling point to wrap the patties.

It was during this time that Wade met Professor Kiran Trehan, whose research actively engages with policy makers and practitioners to break down the perceived barriers faced by black and ethnic minority businesses to combat discrimination. Through working with Kiran, he was able to understand and influence changing practices within larger companies, who opened their supply chains to support small-scale minority businesses like Wade’s.

When Wade first started his business, it was difficult to find shops and fast-food takeaways that would take on his product. He never would have imagined from those back streets that today he would be employing 70 people, have a turnover in excess of £5 million, and supply large supermarkets like Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda. Wade’s success demonstrates how small and vibrant minority businesses can positively influence high street retailers.
Unfiltered Lives - Wade