The Food and Drink iNet has just launched a new phase of support to help ensure the East Midlands food and drink sector is at the forefront of innovation and increasing profitability.
The Food and Drink iNet provides advice, guidance and financial support for innovation projects to eligible small and medium-sized food and drink businesses through its advisors across Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland.
The organisation also helps to fund key university research projects for the sector, with the aim of making sure that the food and drink industry in the region benefits from those research projects. Under its ChIEFs project, it brings the food and drink and engineering sectors together to deliver innovation solutions.
Now the Food and Drink iNet, which is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, is moving forward with new activity in 2011. Food and drink companies in the region that are looking for support with an innovative idea or new product development should get in contact with the iNet via the website or email the iNet at email@example.com.
The iNet is also looking for funding partners for projects from October as a result of the East Midlands Development Agency’s (emda’s) funding ceasing due to its closure next year. The iNet is appealing for universities, private companies and other organisations to come forward with ideas for match-funded projects which could unlock £1 million worth of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) support available until March 2013.
“The Food and Drink iNet has already helped a large number of companies and we want to hear from both companies in the food and drink sector who need support, but also organisations who want to work together to bring in funding to stimulate Innovation,” said Food and Drink iNet Director Richard Worrall.
“The emphasis will continue to be on supporting innovation projects that help to increase productivity, achieve growth, and improve competitiveness and sustainability. However, we are also looking for funding partners to help unlock significant ERDF funds that could be available going forward.”
The Food and Drink iNet is currently funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) until Autumn 2011 and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and is one of four regional iNets developed to link academic and private sector expertise and knowledge with local food and drink business innovation needs.
The Food and Drink iNet aims to build on the tradition of innovation in the food and drink industry in the region by helping to create opportunities to develop knowledge and skills, and to help research, develop and implement new products, markets, services and processes.
It is managed by a consortium, led by the Food and Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham.