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Food and Drink TechHUB

Helping food and drink producers and supply chain businesses grow by providing business support, technical advice and events.

What is it?

The Food and Drink TechHUB Business Support Service is a fully funded programme of activity designed to help food and drink producers and supply chain businesses in the Highland Council area grow and reach their potential. See our 'About the Support Programme' below for more detail.

Getting involved 

Come along to one of our three in-person launch events being held on 23-25 August in Fort William, Dornoch and Inverness. We'll cover how we can help your business, and you'll be able to feedback on specific challenges to help us tailor activities to deliver the most benefit to businesses.

 

Register your interest

If you are interested in participating in the Food and Drink TechHUB project, please complete the enquiry form.

Food and Drink TechHUB enquiry form

Launch events

Find out more about our launch events, and book a place at at the location that works for you.

 

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About the support programme

The programme will:

  • Support you with developing your business plans and facilitate specialist/technical support including: 
    • Product development, prototype testing, scaling up
    • Packaging and product labelling
    • Food safety, shelf life, nutritional analysis
    • Sustainability, low carbon, waste management
    • Equipment specifications, technical troubleshooting, factory layout
    • Branding, marketing, business planning and e-commerce.
  • Raise awareness and increase implementation of new technologies and opportunities such as digital and automation.
  • Develop collaborations between public sector, businesses and academia to deliver innovative projects that benefit the food and drink sector.

Programme delivery

The project is being delivered by SAC Consulting and will run for 3 years until May 2025. 

For further enquiries email the team at foodanddrink@sruc.ac.uk

Triage calls and signposting

If your business attends the workshops or registers an interest, you will receive a 30-minute triage call so the project team can better understand:

  • your business
  • what your plans are for growth
  • what barriers your company faces in developing these plans
  • What support you need.

This will allow the project team to develop a dedicated support plan for each business. The call will also offer a signposting service where the project team can make specific introductions to people and projects in the private, academic and public sector that can help the business and develop collaborative opportunities.

Who's this support aimed at?

The project is open to any food and drink or supply chain business that is based in the Highland Council area. The project is also open to entrepreneurs and individuals with plans for setting up a new food and drink related business.

If you're not sure if you're eligible, please email us at foodanddrink@sruc.ac.uk.

What are the costs involved?

The programme of activity is free of charge.

A red cocktail in a high glass on a wooden table

How will support be delivered?

The programme will focus on delivering specialist support tailored to participant's needs. It will provide you with free access to specialists in a variety of technical areas through events, a signposting service, innovation clinics, learning journeys, common interest groups and intense 1-2-1 support. Information will also be available through videos, podcast, articles and case studies. 

Workshops and webinars

We will deliver a series of face-to-face workshops, online workshops and webinars. The workshops will be a mix of technical subjects and networking events.

Innovation clinics

You will have an opportunity to apply for a one-to-one innovation clinic. It will provide you with a bespoke mentoring session with four experts in a particular area of speciality suited to your business needs. The session will provide practical advice, hints and tips to help you overcome a particular challenge or issue. You will receive a 20-minute call providing advice for you to implement.

Learning journeys

If you have taken part in the programme, you will be offered the chance to apply for a place on a learning journey. This will involve visiting a prominent food and drink business or group of successful food and drink businesses operating in Scotland. The learning journeys will give participants the opportunity to understand best practice and learn how successful businesses have grown.

Intensive 1-2-1 support

30 businesses will be allocated a specialist within the delivery team or from our database of expert contacts who can be brought in on a case-by-case basis. The expert will work closely with each business and offer hands on guidance to support development. This can include business plans, technical support or support with funding applications.

Common interest groups

We will bring together businesses working in the same sector, or those experiencing similar issues or who have similar plans for future development. Groups will be under the supervision of a specialist facilitator from the project team who will facilitate collaboration and support innovative opportunities and projects.

Insights and best practice

We will be continually adding learning resources and best practice examples to our website including podcasts, videos and case studies, which we will signpost you to. 

Please note: Funding to implement recommendations within a business made during this programme is not included in this support package. However, participants can be signposted to other funding available from HIE and partners where available. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the benefit to me and my business?

The programme of activity will be focussed on delivering specialist support that has been identified by the participating companies. The programme will give businesses free access to specialists in a variety of technical areas through events, a signposting service, innovation clinics, learning journeys, common interest groups and intense 121 support. Information will also be available through videos, podcast and articles/case studies/infographics.

Who can be involved in the project?

The project is open to any food and drink or supply chain business that is based in the Highland Council area. The project is also open to entrepreneurs and individuals with plans for setting up a new food and drink related business.

What are the costs involved?

The programme of activity is free of charge. The Food and Drink TechHUB is part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal - a joint initiative supported by £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Is there any funding available to implement any recommendations?

No, all funding allocated for this project will be used to deliver the programme. Participants can be signposted to other funding available from HIE and other organisations to implement any recommendations.

How long will the programme run?

The programme will run for 3 years until May 2025. There is an option to extend the programme by an extra year to June 2026.

Coming soon!

Physical Food and Drink TechHUB

The service will complement the development of a physical TechHUB. It will be an industry-led facility embedded in the local economy supporting:

  • Research and development kitchen facilities
  • Incubation kitchen facilities for developing businesses 
  • Technical facilities for product development and testing
  • Space for business engagement and collaborative activities
  • Demonstration space
  • Events, workshop and meeting room space.

More details will follow. 

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About the Northern Innovation Hub

This programme is delivered through the Northern Innovation Hub, designed to build on and accelerate business innovation.

It is funded through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal - a joint initiative supported by £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highlands and Islands. This programme also receives financial support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Innovation strategic intervention.

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