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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?

Food and Drink TechHUB support is available to food and drink producers and wider supply chain businesses in the Highland Council area. The support is fully funded and will help businesses grow and reach their potential. 

The programme can support key areas such as developing your business plan, product development, packaging, food safety, nutritional analysis, sustainability, waste management, equipment specifications, branding, marketing, e-commerce, implementation of new technologies and will develop collaboration opportunities to benefit the food and drink sector.

Fair work conditions apply

Any organisation applying for funding from HIE must comply with our fair work conditions for financial support. Find out more about how we work with organisations and our Fair Work conditionality. 

Get involved

Get in touch by filling out our enquiry form to find out how we can help you. You can also find out more about TechHUB support below, including programme delivery, benefits and frequently asked questions.  

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

Upcoming events

Find out about Food and Drink TechHUB events coming up.

Collaborate to develop your business

When businesses come together to solve a problem or share a common ambition, goals that seemed out of reach can become more achievable.

When working as a group with likeminded people, businesses can share knowledge, fuel innovation, deliver solutions and create further opportunities to benefit everyone.

And you don’t have to go it alone. We have specialist support available to help businesses work together in the food and drink sector across the Highlands and Islands.

If you're part of a group or looking to become a group of businesses working together, and need support to tackle a common problem, share development plans, increase sustainability, or grow your sector together, we can help.

WHO’S ELIGIBLE?

Our specialist facilitators can help groups who have identified a collaborative or innovative opportunity that supports growth within the group’s businesses, or the wider food and drink sector in the Highlands and Islands.

Business owners within the group must either:

  • work in the same food and drink sector/subsector
  • work in the same geographic area 
  • share a common goal/problem to solve, or
  • share development/growth ambitions.

HOW TO APPLY

Please complete the online application form below to apply.

Apply online

ONE-TO-ONE BUSINESS SUPPORT

If you’re faced with a challenge or trying to tackle a particular issue within your food and drink business, we have expert support available to help.

Through the Food and Drink TechHUB Business Support Service, we can allocate one-to-one specialist support. Our expert will work closely with you and offer hands on guidance to help you in areas including:

  • product development, prototype testing and scaling-up
  • packaging and product labelling
  • food safety, shelf life and nutritional analysis
  • equipment specifications, technical troubleshooting and factory layout
  • branding, marketing, business planning and e-commerce
  • sustainability, low carbon and waste management.

HOW WILL THE SUPPORT BE DELIVERED?

You will receive a mix of one-to-one meetings held over Zoom and background research/signposting, bespoke advice, business reviews and introductions to other businesses or stakeholders that can support the business. 

HOW TO APPLY

To enquire about our one-to-one support service, please email alistair.trail@sac.co.uk

Email Alistair

What's new?

Keep up to date with the latest TechHUB news, events, webinars and podcasts.

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Business Bytes podcast series

Food & Drink Business Bytes, our podcast series, brings you everything you need to know about upcoming events, resources, and any funding and support available to food & drink businesses in the Highlands.

Food and Drink Business Bytes
Techhub Banner

Workshops and webinars

Don't worry if you missed our recent workshop and webinar, you can watch them back here. Recent episodes include a focus on packaging and investment and crowdfunding. 

Workshops and webinars
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TECHHUB PREMISES Coming soon! 

We are developing plans to create a food and drink technology centre. The premises will include space for  research, development and testing of new food and drink products and processes, and incubation space for young/new business to grow.

TechHUB news

Hear from Finlay MacDonald from Chocolates of Glenshiel

Supporting Chocolates of Glenshiel

Food and Drink TechHUB has helped Chocolates of Glenshiel with packaging advice and one to one product development support. In this video you will hear Finlay MacDonald talking about the benefits they have directly experienced from the programme. 

 

Gledfield Distillery

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Gledfield Distillery

Ciara from Gledfield Distillery was recently supported through the Food and Drink TechHUB - image credit Janis Hedley Photography.

Wow! Thank you so much! This is a fantastic list of resources, I'm really grateful for your time and help looking into this for me.

Ciara Bow, founder Glenfield Distillery

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.

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. Find out more below: 

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. 

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.

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. 

Who is delivering the programme?

The project is being delivered by SAC Consulting through the Northern Innovation fund on behalf of HIE.  

See out meet the team section below to find out more about the people involved in the Food and Drink TechHUB.  

Really helpful conversation with the panel at the TechHub Innovation Clinic- suggestions will be followed up.
Kristy Brown, Butchery Manager, Knoydart Trading

MYXD

How working with the Food and Drink TechHUB helped MYXD rebrand and take their business to the next level

View case study

Spotlight on Knoydart

Louise Costello, owner of Coffee Knoydart and Kristy Brown, Butchery Manager at Knoydart Wild Venison talk about their journey with the Food and Drink TechHUB

View case study

Highland Crackers

How joining the Highland Food & Drink Innovation Network is helping Highland Crackers make strategic moves

View case study

Seeded cracker mix displayed on a table

Zepice - Fusion Spice Blends

How joining the Highland Food & Drink Innovation Network has opened doors for Zepice

View case study

The Data Lab - Using Artificial Intelligence to design new logistics solutions

The Data Lab has helped apply artificial intelligence (AI) and nature-inspired computing to the logistical challenges faced by both logistics service providers and food and drink manufacturers operati

View case study

Bright red langoustine

Meet the SAC Consulting team

Get support

Please complete our short form to enquire about support through the Food and Drink TechHUB. 

Enquiry form

If you would like to chat to us about one-to-one support, please email alistair.trail@sac.co.uk

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About the Northern Innovation Hub

The Food and Drink TechHUB (formally the Highland Food and Drink Innovation Network) is delivered through the Northern Innovation Hub, a funding programme designed to build on and accelerate business innovation.

The Northern Innovation Hub was awarded £11m from the UK Government as part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal. The deal is a joint initiative supported by £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, Highland Council, HIE and the University of the Highlands and Islands. This programme also receives financial support through the European Regional Development Fund Scotland Programme.

Explore all business support delivered through the Northern Innovation Hub.

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