News - 23 August 2016

£3.5m to help food and drink firms’ hungry for success

Food and drink manufacturers looking to expand, take on extra staff, develop new products and access financing will be aided by a £3.5million programme, part-funded by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

The Food Enterprise Advisory Support Team, or FEAST programme, will be delivered in the D2N2 LEP’s area by the Nottingham-based Food and Drink Forum; an industry-led, not for profit body set-up in 1998 to support and develop the food and drink sector, and represent it at a regional and national level.

FEAST will run for three years, beginning this summer (2016), and cost £3.5m.

The Forum will provide half the programme’s costs and the other half will come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) portion of D2N2’s allocation of €251m in European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). D2N2 is the private sector-led partnership of business, local authorities, higher and further education providers, and community and voluntary organisations which promotes economic growth and jobs across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

FEAST’s services will support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food and drink manufacturing sector by providing:

  • an annual review of the sector’s performance, available to all businesses;
  • technical and business advice;
  • business mentoring;
  • tailored events for sector businesses, designed to share and promote good practice, and develop business partnerships;
  • an apprenticeship programme for the sector, to support job creation and skills development;
  • capital grants for SMEs looking to expand.

D2N2’s Growth Hub will help those running the FEAST project to engage with SMEs in the area. The Growth Hub supports new and established SMEs with help in business strategy and growth, marketing, networking and accessing funding for expansion; using its regional and national business networks to enable businesses to find the right help.

Peter Richardson, Chairman of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Food and drink manufacturing is one of the UK’s most innovative sectors but smaller companies often don’t have the resources of big global brands to gather market intelligence, innovate and address technical issues.

“The FEAST programme is designed to help SMEs keep their competitive edge and develop their businesses. D2N2 is proud to be making a major investment in this three year initiative in one of its eight key sectors.”

The FEAST funding follows similar major investments in two other three-year projects by D2N2, again through its European Regional Development Fund monies, earlier this year.

In May (2016), D2N2 announced the £20.3m ‘Enabling Innovation’ project; which will see Derby, Nottingham and Nottingham Trent universities provide technical, research and innovation help to more than 2,000 SMEs. The £2.7m ‘Catalysing Growth through Research for Transport Equipment Manufacturing’ project will also enable firms working in the transport equipment manufacturing sector (road, rail, aerospace, etc) to receive research and innovation support from the University of Derby and Loughborough University.

Again, these two projects will each last for three years and D2N2 is providing half their funding.

Companies interested in benefiting from any of the three projects can contact the D2N2 Growth Hub for further information on 0333 006 9178 or by email to

Further information about the FEAST project can also be found on the Food and Drink Forum website at

To learn more about how the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership is growing its eight key sectors – including food and drink manufacturing – see its website at

Media wanting more information about this news release can contact D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership Communications Manager Sean Kirby on 0115 9578749 or

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