Andrew Butterwick has been appointed the new director of the Food and Drink iNet as the East Midlands-wide project launches phase two of its support for the food and drink sector in the region.
Andrew has wide experience of both the food and drink industry, and business support.
He joins the Food and Drink iNet team from Business Link Yorkshire, where he was a business advisor. Before that he was managing director of ATB Associates Ltd, providing consultancy, advice and resource management, operational management, process mapping and technical training to the food sector.
“I am very pleased to be joining the Food and Drink iNet at such an exciting time when we are moving into phase two of the project, and I am relishing the opportunity to have such a key role in encouraging innovation in the food and drink sector in the East Midlands,” said Andrew.
“Along with the rest of the Food and Drink iNet team, I am looking forward to building on the success of the first two years of the project.”
Funded by the East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Food and Drink iNet co-ordinates innovation support for businesses, universities and individuals working in the food and drink sector in the East Midlands. The iNet strives to develop an effective network to encourage the collaboration of academic expertise and knowledge, and local food and drink business innovation needs.
It aims to build on the tradition of innovation in the food and drink industry in the region by helping to create opportunities to develop knowledge and skills, and to help research, develop and implement new products, markets, services and processes.
During the initial two-year phase of the Food and Drink iNet, more than 300 businesses in the region were supported, Innovation Support Grants were given to 57 firms, and funding was provided for nine university collaboration projects. It also ran a successful series of events that attracted more than 650 delegates from 150 businesses to look at some of the key industry issues, as well as staging three best practice factory visits.
Now the second phase of the Food and Drink iNet has begun and there are plans to build on the work that’s already been achieved in supporting food and drink manufacturers in the East Midlands, as well as increase the number of advisors at the iNet.
“Phase one of the Food and Drink iNet was welcomed by food and drink manufacturers in the region as an original way of supporting and encouraging innovation in the sector in the East Midlands,” said Food and Drink iNet director Andrew Butterwick.
“We are very pleased to have started a second phase of the Food and Drink iNet, and intend to continue supporting food and drink firms in the region via a number of different channels. This will include a ‘collaborate to innovate’ programme that brings together academia with groups of individual businesses looking to resolve common problems through innovation.
“We also plan to run a project to bring the engineering and food and drink sectors together, by helping engineering firms to diversify into the food and drink sector and by helping the food and drink sector to find innovative solutions to improve their process and efficiency.”
Andrew, who is based in the Business Centre at Southglade Food Park, Gala Way, Nottingham, has gained his experience through a number of roles during his career, including factory manager and then operations director at ethnic foods company Westmill Foods and operations manager at Bowmans Milling.
The Food and Drink iNet is managed by a consortium, led by the Food & Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region.
For more information visit www.eminnovation.org.uk