Food and Drink iNet offers free business support to East Midlands food and drink firms

Food and drink firms across the East Midlands are being urged to take advantage of free business support available from the Food and Drink iNet.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the iNet co-ordinates innovation support for businesses, universities and individuals working in the food and drink sector in the region.

The first element of that support is to meet and discuss business needs and provide impartial advice and guidance on how to grow through innovation. It can then lead to accessing grants and specialist expertise.

Since 2008, the iNet has given hundreds of hours of free advice to food and drink manufacturing firms across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, which has led to innovation projects being launched.

The iNet is urging established small and medium-sized companies who work across the supply chain to get in touch to find out more about the help on offer.

“The free one-to-one initial support for food and drink businesses provides tailored advice and guidance to help companies find their route to growth,” said Food and Drink iNet director Richard Worrall.

“Our advisors are experienced in supporting firms and have a strong network of industry and academic contacts. This means they can signpost businesses to relevant information, expertise and guidance. They can also give information about match-funded grants for innovation that are available to eligible companies.”

In the past, the iNet has provided free ‘business assist’ support to a wide range of companies including bakers, butchers, chocolate makers, snack manufacturers, ice cream makers, and drinks manufacturers, as well as businesses that ‘supply into’ the sector, such as workwear specialists, consultants who work in the food and drink industry and those who manufacture items for the sector.

The one-to-one support aims to help the firms to bring their innovation ideas to life.

The Food and Drink iNet is managed by a consortium, led by The Food and Drink Forum and including Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region.

For more information about the iNet visit www.foodanddrink-inet.org.uk or contact the iNet on info@foodanddrink-inet.org.uk