A BUSINESS owner who set up her Indian snack food venture after moving from Africa has been recognised by Dragons' Den legend Theo Paphitis.

Sushma Solanki, owner of Sushma'snacks in Great Lever, moved to Bolton in 1995 after she was born and brought up in Nairobi and Kenya.

After a stint working in the travel industry and changes in her family circumstances she decided to open the business in November 2016.

And this month, less than two years into the venture's life, she was named as one of the six winners of Theo Paphitis' Small Business Sunday contest.

Mrs Solanki, who runs the business from Green Lane, Great Lever, said: "We’ve only been in business 17 months and I still work out of my home Kitchen.

"It is great to have support from Theo because it’s been tough trying to raise our profile and Theo has recognised our hard work and helped spread the word about what we do to his following."

Mr Paphitis began the Small Business Sunday in 2010 and every week, businesses pitch to him and he tweets the six best.

Benefits include increased Twitter followers and media publicity.

When she decided to set up the business, Mrs Solanki, who already cooked as a hobby, attended a start-up course with the Manchester Growth Hub and followed that up with the Pop-up Business course at Bolton At Home.

She said her aim was for adults and children to learn the art of healthy Indian cooking.

She said: "When I started the business, I wasn’t sure how well it would take off as it was a very different concept and food. Today when I walk into a room and someone sees my name badge they say we have heard a lot about your food.

"I am now known all over the North West and not just Bolton which makes me very proud of what I have achieved in this short time."

She has been nominated in three categories for the Bolton Inspire women's awards, which takes play on May 5. Mrs Solanki lives in Great Lever and is married to Ned and mother to Meera and Puja.