Food and drink entrepreneurs can THRIVE with programme insight

Workshops and webinars are being offered to help anyone who wants to kickstart their journey in the food and drink sector.

Industry news
Published: 30/04/2024

Workshops and webinars are being offered to help anyone who wants to kickstart their journey in the food and drink sector.

THRIVE 2024 offers participants the chance to gain crucial entrepreneurial skills and meet industry experts who can help turn their ideas into reality.

Delivered by experts from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and Queen Margaret University (QMU) the programme is now in its fourth year.

Aimed at students, graduates, and early-stage entrepreneurs, THRIVE offers the skills vital for concept development and business growth, as well as providing insight focused on legislation, marketing, and manufacturing.

Ceri Ritchie, Principal Consultant at SAC Consulting (part of SRUC), said: “THRIVE is about helping to create resilient start-up food & drink businesses – entrepreneurs with awareness of the need for pace and perseverance in their approach.

“It can help build a business where there is a real demand for its products, and that has adaptable strategies, equipped to scale over time.

“From the start we want to encourage entrepreneurs to be aware of the value they bring to customers and have a long-term view.

“This is our fourth year delivering THRIVE and it is a privilege to share our commercial experience and industry knowledge with Scotland’s embryonic food, drink, and rural entrepreneurs.

“I look forward to meeting the 2024 participants, the fantastic discussions we will have and to another successful programme.”

As well as being designed for students and graduates, THRIVE is also open to people in food & drink manufacturing, hospitality, diversified agriculture or food and farm shops who have ambitions to develop as entrepreneurs or even who just have an idea in the making.

Applications for the programme that will run from August to November are now open and can be made via Eventbrite.

Last year’s edition of THRIVE was a tremendous success attracting 53 participants from Shetland to Whithorn and Tighnabruaich to Crail.

One of those who participated, Katy Matsetse of The Wee Ginger Company was able to capitalise on her experience and kick start her business.

She said: “I absolutely loved THRIVE. The whole programme was exceptionally well organised, educative and very useful material.

“Networking with other food and drinks business owners/entrepreneurs was incredible too. Some of which have continued since THRIVE 2023 to date and will hopefully lead to collaborations.

“THRIVE is a definite “to go to” programme for all businesses regardless of the stage the business is. I highly recommend THRIVE to anyone thinking of starting a business, already started or those with well-established food and drink businesses.”

The programme is made up of two interactive sessions, supported by six industry-focused webinars.

On 21 September, an online session covering business skills will take place, followed by an in-person event at QMU on 2 November which will look at food product development.

Six optional evening webinars will take place between 28 August and 9 October. They will examine:

  • Investment and funding opportunities for Scottish food and drink businesses
  • Crafting your perfect pitch
  • Co-packing versus self-manufacturing
  • Sustainable marketing strategies
  • Practical packaging solutions
  • Legislation for food manufacturing and foodservice in Scotland

Catriona Liddle, Head of Scottish Centre for Food Development & Innovation at QMU, said: “THRIVE offers a terrific opportunity for businesses to get “real world” help from experts, help which is specifically focused on food and drink startup requirements.

“Whether you are a student with a food business idea, a graduate who is in the process of starting up a business, or someone who has already been actively running a food and drink enterprise for a couple of years but could benefit from specialist input, then THRIVE can help you confidently take things to the next level.

 “The programme also offers delegates the chance to meet up with like-minded individuals, so you can build a supportive community and learn from each other as you progress your journeys.

“Every year THRIVE gets a little bigger and is broadened in scope which allows us to help more enterprising start-ups on the road to success in the food and drink industry.”

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