Tasty prizes on offer infood and drink sector

Date: Friday 8th December 2017

FOOD and drink businesses in the Penrith area can win a share of £50,000 funding in the first competition aimed at pushing the boundaries in food business innovation.

The scheme has been launched by Defra, through its Food Innovation Network (FIN), which connects producers with test kitchens, laboratories and the expertise to help them create new and innovative products and production methods.

The grant funding will be distributed in the form of “innovation vouchers” which can then be used to support new ideas and business opportunities.

Micro, small and medium sized food and drink businesses will be able to compete for one of 10 £5,000 FIN vouchers — with matched funding from industry — by pitching their innovative projects to a panel of industry and technical experts.

The winners will be those who demonstrate their ideas are novel, achievable and support business growth. The money will allow producers to invest in a wide range of innovative projects, such as reducing the use of water in growing vegetables, and creating new business opportunities.

Applicants will need to submit an initial two-minute video pitch and a short description setting out their new business opportunity.

The competition is being backed by Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart, who said: “I am very proud that we have a wealth of small businesses in Penrith and the Border who have been incredibly successful at producing high quality food and drink.

“Many of the people behind these businesses still have some great ideas, and a lot of ambition, and this new scheme could provide a fantastic opportunity to realise some more of that potential. I urge every eligible small food and drink business in the constituency to apply.”

Further details on how to apply can be found at www.foodinnovationnetwork.co.uk