Launched in 2016, Project Helix has provided food and drink companies with technical and commercial support.
More recently, the project has helped businesses navigate the difficulties surrounding COVID-19, including mentoring companies through remote safety audits and helping them capitalise on new consumer trends such as e-commerce.
The project had helped to create 428 jobs and safeguard a further 1,749 roles, supporting 257 business start-ups and helping to develop 1,010 new products (more details in the box below), FIW claimed.
One of the businesses that has benefited from the project was Lewis Pies, which was assisted remotely through the process of renewing its BRCGS food safety certification.
Technical manager Emma Burgess said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been a very tough time for the business, losing a massive amount of our trade overnight along with a reduction in staff numbers and expertise.
“Throughout this period, the support supplied by Food Innovation Wales has been invaluable. It has been a time full of uncertainty and pressure and knowing that the skills and knowledge are there to support us has been amazing.
The Welsh government and EU-funded project has been delivered by Food Innovation Wales, a partnership of three food centres based in north, mid/west and south Wales.
Eligible companies can tap into a range of expertise to help them grow through the development of new products, increasing efficiency and adopting new strategic approaches.
Commenting on the update, Welsh government minister for environment, energy and rural affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “Project Helix remains at the forefront of the continued growth of the food and drink manufacturing industry in Wales and its support has directly resulted in the creation and safeguarding of thousands of jobs.
“Throughout the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Project Helix has helped companies adapt and innovate. I encourage Welsh manufacturers to explore the support opportunities which are available to them through Project Helix.”
For more information and to find if your business is eligible, visit the Project Helix website.
Project Helix at a glance
- £161m impact
- 428 jobs created and a further 1,749 safeguarded
- 257 business start-ups supported
- 474 businesses assisted
- 660 new markets accessed
- 1,010 new products developed