Aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, the programme includes five days of technical services and consultancy, specialist facilities and equipment, skills training for staff, general business development and a range of short courses.
Businesses can also attend demonstration events showcasing the latest technology in food and drink processing, hosted at the University’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM), where they can apply for the £20,000 capital grant.
Twenty University Enterprise Zones (UEZs) throughout the UK were launched last September in a £20m investment from Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation.
Stimulating small businesses
The University of Lincoln was awarded just under £1m to create a UEZ aimed at stimulating the development of small businesses and encouraging them to interact with universities and be innovative in their field.
The goal is to offer SMEs in the sector the opportunity to access scientific and technical support, networking opportunities and innovation facilities.
The NCFM, based in Holbeach in Lincolnshire, is a major research centre for food manufacturing, with services ranging from robotics and automation, to associated sciences, with sector specialists and equipment to help businesses with innovative growth and transformation projects.
Support tailored to match needs
UEZ fund programme manager David Thorpe said the support available would be tailored to match the development needs of the business taking part, and would depend on the specific needs it had to meet its strategy for growth and innovation.
Thorpe said: “The food manufacturing sector is huge, and one that supports thousands of jobs across the UK – and as we move into a digital revolution within the food sector, businesses need to be as innovative as possible and ensure that they are maximising their potential.
“NCFM helps the food manufacturing sector undertake food process and manufacturing trials, analysis and testing, product development, food safety and quality standards plus a wide range of training, to name a few areas of our expertise.
Businesses interested to in taking advantage of the support should email their details, along with a summary of what their business needs to David Thorpe.
Visit The University of Lincoln website to find out more about the NCFM.