What we offer
Business Advice and Guidance
- Free one-to-one support for businesses in the food and drink sector
- Impartial advice and guidance on how to grow through innovation
- Signposting firms to relevant information, expertise and guidance
Our Innovation Advisors work with individual SMEs to offer tailored advice and guidance to help businesses find their route to growth. Through our strong network of industry and academic contacts we can also identify external sources of expertise that companies may call on to help them bring their ideas to life. We cover the East Midlands counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland.
Innovation Support Funding
The Food and Drink iNet can help food and drink SMEs with Innovation Advice and Guidance Subsidised Support. This contributes to the cost of bringing external expertise into the business, for example a university food science department that helps the business with shelf life or other technical issues. Grants are made on a match-funding basis, i.e. the company has to contribute its own funds to the project as well. Funding is subject to the company meeting specific criteria, which can be discussed with one of our Innovation Advisors.
Collaborative Research and Development
The Food and Drink iNet’s Collaborative Research and Development project provides funding and support to East Midlands universities to help them work in collaboration with food and drink businesses on research projects that benefit the food and drink industry. The iNet is the vital link between the universities and industry.
A wide range of projects has received support since the start of the scheme including: research to find out what external factors contribute to blue cheese‘s distinctive taste and texture; new technology to increase the shelf life of soft fruit; an exploration into how much water is used in the processing of potatoes and the development of a handheld device to detect fake whisky and wine through the bottle.
Collaborate to Innovate
This programme brings together groups of food and drink companies to investigate solutions to shared problems. The Food and Drink iNet facilitates support from relevant specialists and shares the findings across the wider food and drink sector.