Food firms get boost from business growth scheme

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Opportunity North East's new programme will boost the growth of small food and drink firms
Opportunity North East's new programme will boost the growth of small food and drink firms

Related tags Corporation Food and drink

The launch of a new business growth programme hopes to boost turnover and create new jobs for small food and drink companies in Scotland.

Opportunity North East’s (ONE’s) new scheme aims to equip businesses with skills and knowledge to achieve their growth potential.

It will guide companies through the development of new products, new markets and new retail and foodservice listings.

There are 20 spaces open on the 11-month programme, which will start in January 2017. ONE will work in partnership with Aberdeenshire council to deliver the scheme.

ONE director of food, drink and agriculture Peter Cook said: “Food and drink is a major industry sector in the region with enormous potential for growth.

‘Fulfil their ambitions’

“We are starting from a strong position. If we can encourage and give start-ups and smaller businesses the tools to fulfil their ambitions, we can deliver increased turnover and new jobs as part of the region’s economic renaissance.”

The programme includes a combination of group workshops, business speaker sessions, practical exercises and visits from experienced business mentors.

“Participating businesses will learn a lot from each other via peer group sharing and from the programme, which is highly practical and involves real businesses,”​ added Cook.

“At the end of the programme they will have a plan and know how to implement it to take their businesses to the next level.”

Opportunity to grow

Aberdeenshire Council infrastructure services committee member David Aitchison said the scheme would provide food and drink companies operating in the area the opportunity to grow and develop.

“Aberdeenshire Council has been supporting the food and drink industry for many years and we believe there is huge potential in this sector,” ​said Aitchison.

Applications for the programme need to be submitted by December 12 and can be done through ONE’s website.

Meanwhile, a £3M local supply chain project has been launched​ to help Scottish food and drink firms build connections with suppliers, processors and retailers, the Scottish government revealed.

Fergus Ewing, Scottish parliament’s secretary for the rural economy and connectivity, said the scheme would help businesses maximise their potential and protect against any Brexit threats.

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