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Strengthening Resilience, Driving Innovation, and Building Skills: Resources for Food and Drink SMEs

15th June 2023

In the dynamic landscape of the food and drink industry, resilience, innovation, and skills are key to success. To support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in this sector, the Department for Enviromental Food & Rural Affairs has compiled a set of resources. Whether you’re looking to enhance your business’s resilience, foster innovation, or develop essential skills, these resources are designed to provide valuable support.

Resilience: Resource Sheet for Food and Drink SMEs

The Resilience Resource Sheet emphasizes the importance of preparing for unexpected challenges. It encourages SMEs to anticipate and plan for potential impacts, diversify customer bases, explore alternative markets, and ensure workforce preparedness. The sheet introduces NICRE’s Resilience Toolkit, offering a free and modular online tool to assess resilience, evaluate risks, and create crisis plans. Additionally, it highlights regional food groups, LEP networks, and growth hubs that provide training, finance access, and networking opportunities.

Innovation: Resource Sheet for Food and Drink SMEs

Innovation is a catalyst for growth in the food and drink industry. The Innovation Resource Sheet introduces the Food and Drink Innovation Gateway, connecting manufacturers with experts who offer cost-effective solutions in automation, digitalisation, and new technologies. Innovate UK KTN provides business support, funding, and resources such as a grant funding application guide and an innovation canvas tool. The Made Smarter Adoption program focuses on boosting competitiveness through industrial digital technology adoption, offering advice, diagnostics, training, and grants. Additionally, SMEs interested in developing food and drink products for the elderly can access training and guidance through the Innovating Food for Seniors website.

Skills: Resource Sheet for Food and Drink SMEs

Developing and nurturing essential skills is vital for the growth and success of SMEs. The Skills Resource Sheet provides valuable information and support in this area. It highlights organizations and initiatives aimed at enhancing skills within the food and drink industry. Here are some key resources:

  1. Skills Development Scotland: Offers a range of services including apprenticeships, workforce development support, and funding opportunities to enhance skills and productivity.
  2. Food and Drink Federation’s Skills Pledge: Encourages businesses to invest in their workforce by providing training and development opportunities. The pledge connects businesses with training providers and resources to upskill employees.
  3. National Skills Academy for Food and Drink: Provides tailored training programs, apprenticeships, and industry-specific qualifications to address skills gaps and enhance productivity in the sector.

By leveraging these resources, SMEs can invest in the development of their workforce, nurture talent, and ensure the acquisition of essential skills necessary for growth and innovation.

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