A meal preparation company that aims to bring a taste of authentic Indian Cuisine to people across South Yorkshire says it hopes to expand its client base nationwide, having secured premises for the production of its unique flash frozen meals on Sheffield’s vibrant Abbeydale Road.

A healthy alternative to ready meals or takeaway Indian food, Vamaya Ltd specialises in healthy and balanced homecooked dishes that people can enjoy everyday while at home, in the office, or out and about.

While the business founded by entrepreneur Alekhya Ankarapu, who also works full time as IT Delivery Manager with a healthy Insurance company, was originally Launched in 2019, the restrictions imposed as a result of Covid-19, alongside the challenges of raising two small children, forced her to put the project on hold.

However, further to a Kickstart grant from UKSE – a business that invests in steel areas in the UK – the brand has been able to press ahead with its product and market research, ahead of its relaunch next month.

Boasting eco-friendly packaging made from sugar cane pulp, the tasty range of Indian cuisines, including a unique Indian quinoa, will also be flash frozen from fresh; locking in the nutrients and making it far healthier than chilled ready meals packed with preservatives.

With a loyal customer base already established in and around South Yorkshire – Including in Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster – in 2019 Vamaya Ltd was named as finalists for the Sheffield Launchpad Awards, which recognises the entrepreneurial talent of the region’s most promising business ventures.

Alekhya Ankarapu said: “We were so excited about the potential to bring authentic and nutritious Indian cuisine to families across South Yorkshire, and in the months that followed our initial launch we were overwhelmed with the amount of interest that we had in our product range.

“As a couple who both have full time corporate jobs, we know how easy it is to just make do with bland ready meals with poor nutritional values, and we wanted to do something to shake things up.

“Sadly, however the pandemic forced us to halt production for a period as we were struggling to juggle everything while also caring for our children.

“Now that things are starting to return to normal, with thanks to the grant for UKSE which has allowed us to really research and advance our product range, we have managed to secure new premises on Abbeydale Road and are on track to expand our client base nationwide.”

Keith Williams, Regional Executive at UKSE, added: “This is a really exciting product range that could help to change the ready meal market for the better.

“Vamaya’s approach to flash freezing its dishes means they are able to meet their nutritional USP for all of their customers, but also means they can reach customers from further afield. We wish them all the best for the future as they look to grow and expand their business, and we can’t wait to sample the food.”

UKSE also provides loan and equity finance of up to £1m to existing companies which are growing, particularly those creating jobs.