NI entrepreneur serves up healthy Chinese sauces
A Northern Ireland entrepreneur has created two innovative Chinese bottled sauces that are gluten free, vegan friendly and made with 100% natural ingredients.
Vincent Tsang developed his Sweet Chilli and Sweet and Sour sauces aimed at the growing market for healthy alternatives to favourite foods.
Now with the support of Innovation Factory in Belfast, he plans to grow sales throughout the UK and Ireland as well as internationally online. As a member of IF, he is receiving continuous business support and mentoring from Innovation Manager Stephen Ellis.
“I developed this sauce because I’m very health conscious and am so passionate about what I eat. The advice and support that I’m receiving is helping me take the business to the next level,” Vincent said.
The 35-year-old Lisburn man explained that he was inspired to create the sauce by the healthy food that his parents made at home.
“When I was growing up, I had terrible eczema and saw many doctors here and in Hong Kong where my parents are from but the treatments only worked for a short period of time. What seemed to help me was home cooked food made with natural ingredients,” he said.
Vincent, who has a background in banking and finance, had always dreamed of running his own business and during lockdown he created his healthy Sweet and Sour and Sweet Chilli sauce recipes based on popular dishes from his parents’ Chinese restaurant in Moira.
He participated in Belfast City Council’s Kickstart Programme, which led to his introduction to mentor Stephen Ellis. With Stephen’s help, he successfully applied for an Innovation Voucher from Invest NI to help develop his business idea and worked with CAFRE at Greenmount to ensure the sauces met all the food safety guidelines and had a shelf life of 18 months.
Tsang Sauce is now stocked in a number of independent food stores in Northern Ireland while Vincent continues to develop his sales strategy.
“The support that I’ve had has been essential to my business. Innovation Factory has a great mix of businesses that have offered opportunities for collaboration and access to services like marketing, accountancy, Research and Development and tax incentives,” he said.
“I can come to Stephen when I need something to progress the business and he will point me in the right direction. I love the energy at Innovation Factory, it is full of companies that are constantly coming up with new ideas. It is the perfect place for me to develop my business,” he added.
Innovation Manager Stephen Ellis said he was sure that Vincent’s innovative new products will prove to be a big success for the public looking for healthy versions of their favourite meals.
“Vincent’s story is a great example of the many fantastic business ideas coming out of Northern Ireland. It is so rewarding for us at Innovation Factory to play a role in supporting such exciting projects and encouraging collaboration amongst a community of new entrepreneurs,” he added.
As well as being a new business owner, Vincent is also a part-time actor, who played Jackie Chan’s body double during driving scenes in his film The Foreigner set in Northern Ireland.
He added: “I was a similar height to him and although the film was mainly shot in London, they did some driving scenes in Belfast City Centre, Larne Harbour and Tollymore Forest Park. In one scene in Tollymore I had to make a sharp turn without hitting the brakes and managed to do it. The director said we had one chance before the light faded. It was quite a bit of pressure, a bit like starting your own business!”
His website, www.tsangsauce.com, provides healthy recipes using his sauces.
Caption: Vincent Tsang, who has created two healthy, vegan friendly and gluten-free Chinese bottled sauces with the support of Stephen Ellis, Innovation Manager at Innovation Factory in West Belfast.