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Stimulating Innovation in the Agri-Food Sector

Supporting Agri-Food Businesses Across Yorkshire

Yorkshire Dama Cheese

Each month we list an example of an innovative food or drink business.


We're often asked what innovation is and why businesses need to innovate. The simple answer is that all businesses need to innovate... to grow and develop in order to keep going. This could be as simple as updating your marketing strategy or it could be developing a new product or technology. SIAFS can help you to solve problems that your business is facing through workshops, master classes and innovation vouchers. Register for SIAFS here.

Yorkshire Dama Cheese

Yorkshire Dama's story is one of inspirational bravery by a woman who used her skills and passion to bring a brand new product to market in the UK. 

The Story

Razan Alsous, the founder of Yorkshire Dama tells her story.
“We came to the UK after the war in Syria in 2012. With my husband and three young children, we had lost almost everything and had to settle into a new life in Yorkshire. Initially I began searching for a job but despite having a pharmacy degree and a scientific background my lack of references and work history in the UK made it extremely difficult. 

After some time I started to look at other options. I have three children and wanted so badly to build a bright future for them. So I started to think what was around me – the expertise I could tap into, the sources of support and other opportunities available to me.

As I couldn’t find a great tasting quality squeaky cheese anywhere in the supermarkets or local independent farm shops I then had a brainwave: why not create a business and make myself HALOUM! cheese from fresh high quality British milk.

And so started our journey- with an idea and a start up loan of just £2500 from the local Enterprise Agency. We had to adapt the equipment we bought and then finally got the approval to start manufacturing HALOUM! cheese in June 2014. We called our first product Yorkshire HALOUM! as the cheese is made from Yorkshire milk and has a firm but squeaky texture when grilled, similar to traditional halloumi cheese. After just four months of production we won the the WORLD CHEESE AWARD Bronze Prize 2014/15, highlighting the true quality of our cheese."


Yorkshire Dama has won a large number of awards and recognition including:

• Selected 6th as Yorkshire Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 
• Nominated by the Prime Minster for International Womens’ Day 2015 
• Yorkshire HALOUM! Short listed best cheese in Yorkshire DY award 2015 
• Yorkshire Dama Cheese Short listed Best New Business in Yorkshire 2015 DY Award 
• Short listed for the British Muslim award 2016
• Won The World cheese Award GOLD prize 2016/17
• Appeared in Celebrity chef James martin’s TV programme Home Comforts January 2016 
• Won The British cheese award Silver prize 2016
• Yorkshire HALOUM! Chilli variety Best cheese in Yorkshire 2016
• Nominated for Women of the Year in London 2016


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