THE co-founder of an successful sauce brand wants to inspire more women to enter the food industry.

Karen Walker runs Nowt Poncy sauces with her husband Julian in Water, Rossendale, supplying many retailers in the UK, including Booths and local shops.

Now, Mrs Walker will be giving a talk at the Women In The Food Industry seminar at Lancaster University on January 30.

There are five products in her range, Tomato & Basil, L’amore E Pizza, Curry Sauce, Big Easy Creole, and Arrabiata.

At the event, she will talk about how to be successful and learn from her own experience how to run a food business.

She said: “I believe, as a woman, that you can do and be what you want to be.

“I have been lucky that I have not come across any discrimination, but then I’m not so sure how you can discriminate against a woman who believes in their product and is willing to work hard to develop the company.”

Mrs Walker thinks the industry has older people going into it than the millennial generation.

She said: “Younger women may have other goals, having a family being one of them.

“The food business is so very hard that it is very, very difficult to develop a business whilst taking care of children.

“We don’t have children and we find it difficult, so it is to be admired if a young mum can run a food company and raise a family.

“Whatever is said about women in any role, my belief is that if you are prepared to learn, work hard and develop, women can do and be whatever they want to be.

“I don’t believe we are any different from men in that respect.”

But before the business started, 56-year-old Mrs Walker was a headteacher at a special needs school, which she left due to the stress.

She said: “I left education as I had a breakdown due to the pressures of the job.

“I was a headteacher and had been in education for nearly 30 years.

“I stayed at home in the attic bedroom for four weeks because it took me that long to find my confidence again.

“Nowt Poncy was born 11 months after I left teaching in 2015.”

After leaving her job, Mrs Walker spent Christmas making tomato and basil sauce, and wrapping them up to give to friends and family as gifts.

The couple also gave the sauce to a local butcher, who said if they made more, he would sell them.

Nowt Poncy prides itself on being handmade and certified low in sugar and fat, providing a healthier alternative to usual supermarket pasta and pizza sauces.