Feeding innovation

Food and drink firms in the east Midlands are set to benefit from £0.25m in grants that are now available via the Food and Drink Innovation Network (iNet).

These Innovation Support Grants are open to small and medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 250 employees. Their role is to help develop a novel technology or process, or a new product, service or way of doing business.

Support valued at up to £10,000 is available per business, providing that 50 per cent match-funding is given by the company in ‘cash’ or in ‘time’.

Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda), the Food and Drink iNet is managed by a consortium, led by the Food and Drink Forum and including the Food Processing Faraday Partnership, Nottingham Trent, Lincoln and Nottingham universities.

‘We’re hoping to work with almost 100 food and drink companies in the region,’ said acting director of the Food and Drink iNet Richard Adlington. ‘We have already started to award grants to firms that are coming forward with inspiring ideas.’

Mike Carr, executive director of Business Services at emda, added: ‘In the current economic climate, it is more important than ever that companies look at developing new products, processes and services. The Innovation Support Grants provide businesses with a cost-effective opportunity to investigate and exploit innovative ideas that will give them a competitive advantage.’

The Food and Drink iNet is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, and covers Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland.

For more information, contact the Food and Drink iNet on 0845 521 2066 or visit www.foodanddrink-inet.org.uk