By Ian McConnell

PERTH-based chef Praveen Kumar’s ready-meal venture is creating up to 50 jobs with expansion into two new premises.

Mr Kumar, who launched his Praveen Authentic Indian ready-meal range earlier this year, highlighted a 400 per cent increase in production capacity, from 500 to 2,500 portions each week.

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The chef, whose ventures include Tabla Indian Restaurant and the Indian Cook School in Perth, highlighted support from taxpayer-backed Business Gateway in raising funding for equipment including larger blast freezers.

Business Gateway supported the entrepreneur with a strategic business plan review, advice on funding and access to intellectual property and marketing specialists. It noted the range is freshly cooked with locally sourced ingredients, grown in Mr Kumar’s Perthshire market garden, or imported from the family farm in India. The ready meals are sold online and through high-end retailers.

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Mr Kumar said: “Business Gateway has been invaluable to our growth. The team of specialists offered a broad range of expertise, which we could tap into as we set [out] to expand our offering. Essentially, it was a shoulder to help lighten the load when things started to go astray.”

He added: “Without this expertise, we would not have been in a position to take on the new units, or successfully grow our team.”