Firms urged to work together

Funding backs food and drink collaboration

Fergus Ewing
Fergus Ewing: boost for firms (photo by Terry Murden)

Collaboration among food and drink businesses is being backed by £650,000 of government support, said Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

The Collaboration Innovation Fund, which is supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, is part of a package to help businesses who are looking to innovate and follows up on the recent launch of The ‘Make Innovation Happen’ service.

The service is open to all food and drink businesses across the supply chain in Scotland, and will provide information and support including:

  • Providing access to technical knowledge and expertise, specialist facilities, and advice on funding
  • Supporting businesses to tap into resources available in Scotland from the public sector and academia
  • Ensuring businesses receive support which is aligned, not just across Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Interface, but other delivery partners that are supporting innovation.

Speaking at the Royal Highland Show, Mr Ewing said: “Scotland’s reputation as an innovative and globally trading nation is recognised but we need to do more. We want more of our food and drink businesses to sell more goods and services to more markets. We want existing investors to develop, grow and expand in Scotland and to ensure that we remain a location of choice for inward investors.

“Innovation will be key to delivering the industry’s strategic ambitions to double the turnover of the industry by 2030.  This fund will help bring business and academia together to help deliver greater growth.”

James Withers, Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive, said: “Our unique approach to collaboration has been critical to the ten years of growth enjoyed by Scotland’s food and drink industry. This new Collaborative Innovation Fund reflects the importance of collaboration in unlocking innovation, which we know will be critical to our future growth.

“The pace of change in terms of food and drink production, supply chains and consumer behaviour is remarkable.  We will need to embrace a culture of cutting-edge innovation and collaboration to meet the ambitions of our new industry strategy. This fund is an important new step to help drive that culture.”

Elaine Jamieson, Head of Food and Drink at HIE, said: “Innovation in food and drink is vital to empower Scotland’s businesses to respond to today’s consumer market. We are delighted to support and lead this new fund which exclusively focuses on innovative outcomes of scale and addresses key food and drink opportunities or challenges to help achieve growth for the sector.”

The Make Innovation Happen service is delivered through a coalition of key public sector and industry bodies working together collaboratively to drive innovation, with a total £1.1 million critical funding coming from Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Making Innovation Happen is a first step towards achieving the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s aim to double the sector’s turnover to £30 billion by 2030.

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