New and early-stage food and drink businesses are being encouraged to accelerate their growth by applying for a sector-specific business growth programme (BGP) developed for North East Scotland’s food and drink industry.
Led and delivered by private sector economic development body Opportunity North East (ONE) and supported by Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeen City Council, the programme aims to catalyse growth in the sector by equipping businesses with the skills and knowledge to realise their growth potential through innovation and UK and international market development.
Twelve places are available on the programme for owners and managers of small food and drink producers as well as future leaders from larger, family-owned businesses. Up to two delegates per company can attend.
Starting at the end of January 2019, the intensive modular programme includes a combination of group workshops, peer-to-peer learning, one-to-one coaching sessions and a best practice visit over five months. Delegates will make valuable connections within industry and gain a better understanding of the local and national business support network. The aim is to provide delegates with a toolkit to develop a robust business model, compelling value proposition, new customer and market opportunities and a growth strategy to take their business forward.
The BGP in its third year will see a greater focus on early identification of customer needs, analysing and validating demand for products, challenging existing propositions and tailoring products to provide strong foundations for growth.
Patrick Machray OBE, Chair of ONE’s Food, Drink & Agriculture Board, said: “For two years, the Business Growth Programme has been an important part of ONE Food, Drink & Agriculture’s strategy to accelerate the growth, profitability and employment in North East food and drink businesses while enhancing the skills, knowledge and confidence of business owners and managers.
“The result is a group of ambitious businesses pursuing growth plans, which will contribute towards the wider regional and national Scotland Food & Drink Ambition 2030 target to double turnover to £30 billion by 2030.
“Businesses that have completed the programme reflect our region’s strengths across primary production, processing and manufacturing and have gone on to relocate into commercial premises, secure customer growth and national distribution and refine their value proposition leading to the development of new products.”
Achieving growth in the food, drink and agriculture sector is fundamental to the future economic prosperity of the region. It is the North East of Scotland’s second largest industry sector after oil and gas with 22,000 people employed. Growth in its productivity, turnover, employment and value of jobs are priorities for ONE and supporting partners within the wider context of diversifying the regional economy.
Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Peter Argyle, said: “We recognise as a council just how important the food and drink industry is to the Aberdeenshire economy, as a sector with so much potential on an international scale.
“This programme provides an excellent opportunity for ambitious food and drink businesses in the north east, not only to take part in an excellent learning opportunity, but also to benefit from the mentoring offered and increased visibility within the industry – which also has a positive wider impact on the local economy.
“Supporting the growth and development of businesses in the region is a priority for Aberdeenshire Council, and we are pleased to partner with ONE in the third year of this innovative business growth programme, which continues to develop in response to this dynamic and evolving industry.”
Robert Lindsay, six°north
Robert Lindsay, founder of six°north craft brewery, said: “Having experienced the Business Growth Programme first hand in 2017, I encouraged one of our sales managers to participate the following year to develop his leadership skills and network within the North East’s food and drink community. The result is an increased understanding of major retailer requirements and different routes to market which has helped to refine our focus on business planning and ultimately, achieve new income streams in retail, wholesale and export.”
More information, including workshop dates, can be found here.
Applications for the programme can be made online here and should be submitted by 5pm on Wednesday 9 January 2019. Interested parties can contact Jane MacLeod, ONE Business Growth Manager, for further information on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01224 061123.