Posted: 30/01/2017

Seed Fund goes national with free ‘academy’ for rising food stars

The Seed Fund is going national as the philanthropic project enters its fifth year
The philanthropic Seed Fund is going national as the small business support project, originally centred on the South West, enters its fifth year

The Seed Fund, an organisation offering free mentoring, marketing and design support to ambitious new food firms in the South West, is going national for 2017 with support from the Guild of Fine Food.

Founded by Bath-based branding and design consultancy The Collaborators – whose client include Marshfield Ice Cream and Jus-Rol pastry – The Seed Fund allows fledgling businesses to pitch for a place on a programme of mentoring and meet-the-buyer events.

Twelve are chosen each year to go through The Seed Fund Academy: a series of events, running throughout the summer, that includes specialist advice sessions from key figures in the speciality sector.

This year’s mentors will include Guy Tullberg of Tracklements, Camilla Barnard of Rude Health and Tom Herbert of Hobbs House Bakery and TV’s Fabulous Baker Brothers.

At the end of the Academy programme, one business is chosen by a panel of judges to be awarded a package of branding and marketing support from The Collaborators worth up to £100,000, which could include a total packaging overhaul and new website.

After four years focused on the West Country, The Seed Fund is partnering with the Guild of Fine Food from this year to open the scheme to Great Taste award winners nationally.

David Webb, The Collaborators’ marketing and commercial director, said: “There will now be two entry routes: one for new start-ups with lots of potential, and a ‘small producer’ entry for companies less than four years old and turning over less than £500,000 that have already won Great Taste awards.”

Entries are open from February 1, via The Seed Fund website. Businesses are invited to make a short “elevator pitch”, from which a shortlist of 24 will be chosen. The final 12 will be selected during three days of judging by the some of the scheme’s mentors, including a face-to-face pitch by each candidate.

From 2017 onwards, the winner of the Great Taste Small Artisan Producer of the Year award, announced at September’s awards, will also be offered a place in the Academy.

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