East Midlands food and drink firms are being urged to come forward if they need support for innovation projects.

The Food and Drink iNet, which operates across the region, has an £85,500 pot of finance available this summer to provide match-funded support for eligible projects, which could be focusing on new products, accessing new markets or looking at new ways of working.

The Food and Drink iNet provides advice, guidance and financial support for innovation projects to eligible small and medium-sized food and drink businesses through its advisors across Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland.

Now the organisation, which is funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is looking to work with additional food and drink firms which have innovative ideas in the pipeline.

Food and Drink iNet Director Richard Worrall said: “We are looking forward to supporting food and drink firms across the region with their innovative projects that will help to increase productivity, achieve growth, and improve competitiveness and sustainability.

“The Food and Drink iNet has a successful history of supporting innovation schemes within firms, and our advisors are on hand to ensure that, with Food and Drink iNet support, the food and drink sector in the region continues to grow and thrive.”

The iNet helps East Midlands food and drink firms engage expertise from academia, research institutions and specialist business advice for innovation projects to develop new ideas, new products, new processes and to help companies grow. 50% of the equivalent cash value of the support must be contributed by the company.

A new phase of support has just got underway across the region, and now the iNet is looking for additional firms to work with.

The Food and Drink iNet is one of four regional iNets developed to link academic and private sector expertise and knowledge with local food and drink business innovation needs.

The Food and Drink iNet 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. It is managed by a consortium, led by the Food and Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham. For more information visit www.eminnovation.org.uk/food

For further information, please contact the Food and Drink iNet on info@foodanddrink-inet.org.uk

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