TWO York chocolate businesses are combining their entrepreneurial skills to help launch new enterprises in Africa.

Chocolate producer Choc Affair, based in Yorvale Business Park off James Street, and York Cocoa House in Blake Street are sponsoring and mentoring start up ventures in Uganda.

The business support is being offered through Choc Affair's charity Seeds of Hope Uganda, which was set up four years ago and has provided child sponsorship and water treatment programmes.

Choc Affair director Linda Barrie said: "We are due to go back out to Uganda this summer for 17 weeks.

"Last time we were there we set up a young man with solar power units, so when we go back we will see what kind of business he has created with it.

"Sophie at York Cocoa House then came to us with the idea of her business in York raising the sponsorship to support another business. They've done all the fundraising, so when we go out there we'll be looking for another opportunity to help a business with Sophie and myself as mentors."

Sophie Jewett, founder of York Cocoa House, said: "I have always been inspired by Linda's story and the work she does, and I wanted to see if there was something we could do a business to support that.

"I liked the idea of giving people support to start up in business, and thought that was an ideal way to work with Linda and what she does in Uganda.

"I'm really looking forward to see what kind of venture comes out of our sponsorship and watching it grow."

Choc Affair has also just launched its first charity chocolate product - the 2:22 bar, with 10p from each sale going to the Seeds of Hope charity.

The business produces around 40 t ones of fair trade chocolate every year, and is stocked across the country in independent retailers as well as Q Gardens, the Tate Modern, York Chocolate Story, and has recently won a contract to supply its cupcakes to Harrods.

Starting out in the kitchen of founder Mrs Barrie, the business moved into a small industrial unit in Leyburn, before last year relocating to its new premises in Yorvale Business Park where it employs a team of 17 people.