Growth support to be showcased to North East food, drink and agriculture businesses

Food, drink and primary processing businesses in North East Scotland will have a unique opportunity to hear from and engage with key organisations that can support their growth ambitions at a workshop next week.

The wide range of local and national business support available to enterprises in the sector will be the focus for a North East Food & Drink Network event in Aberdeenshire on 10 May, organised by Opportunity North East and Aberdeenshire Council.

The workshop will introduce businesses within the strategically important sector to more than 16 organisations that can support their growth and will feature short presentations alongside one to one meetings to discuss their own plans and needs.

This event is aimed at food and drink producers, primary processors and those looking to diversify their business, who are based in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

Participants at the event include Aberdeenshire Council; Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce; Business Gateway; Business Mentoring Scotland; DYW North East; Elevator; Interface; James Hutton Institute; LEADER; Opportunity North East; Robert Gordon University; Scotland Food and Drink; Scotland’s Rural College; Scottish Development International; Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service.

ONE aims to build on the region’s significant strengths in food, drink and agriculture to achieve overall increases in turnover, profitability and high quality employment in the sector in the medium to long term. The focus areas for its activity are business growth; innovation; supply chain integration; market development and skills. ONE co-funds its work with private and public partners, including Aberdeenshire Council, Scotland Food & Drink and Scottish Enterprise, to maximise growth in the sector to achieve a balanced and sustainable economic base in the medium to long term.

Food, drink and agriculture make up a significant part of the economy of North East Scotland and directly employ more than 22,000 people. In Scottish terms, the region accounts for 17% of the sector’s Gross Value Added (GVA) and 18% of employment. Excluding the whisky sector, it contributes an estimated 20% of Scotland’s food and drink industry output with approaching 25% of Scotland’s primary agricultural output and 50% of its fish landings.

Peter Cook, ONE’s Director of Food, Drink & Agriculture, said: “To grow this region’s already strong food, drink and agriculture sector ONE wants to ensure that businesses are aware of and can access the full range of support that is available to them, whether this is regional, national or sector specific and covering everything from accelerated growth to research and development innovation. This event is a unique opportunity to hear from and engage with the key support organisations collectively and locally, and to discuss their own requirements on a one to one basis.

“There is a lot of support available for businesses in the sector. This event is very practical and is about understanding what is available, identifying what is appropriate for your own business, and learning how to access that support.

“Creating connections across the support landscape and opportunities for accelerated networking and best-practice learning, which enable businesses to grow, are priorities for ONE within the North East Food & Drink Network and I would urge businesses in the region to take this opportunity to identify and engage with potential sources of support.”

The free workshop runs from 3pm to 6pm at Thainstone House Hotel, near Inverurie, on Wednesda, 10 May. To book visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GSS100517 or the news section of the www.opportunitynortheast.com website.