The competition is open to all small or large entrepreneurs from food production, retail or the supply chain sector and is a chance for businesses to parade their success in front of the industry, Investec claimed.
The winner will receive £5,000 in prize money. James Sterling of Investec told FoodManufacture.co.uk the firm was looking for someone that could display lateral thinking.
“This could be a product with an innovative way of marketing – Innocent were very innovative when it first came on the scene – or it could be someone that has looked at a category in a new way or reinvented it,” he said. “This is a chance for businesses to hold an accolade up and put themselves at the forefront of UK PLC.”
“UK food PLC is the largest employer in the UK, so it is fundamentally important to get it up and running again. The economy will not be restored by Russians buying houses in London; it will be restored by up and coming business gaining success.”
Investec is not looking for people with a good idea or a business they are trying to get off the ground, but for a firm with a proven track record of innovation.
“We are looking for a proven entrepreneur, someone that has an established business and has a turnover of one or two million [pounds],” he said. “We are looking for sustained ability, sustained in every sense of the word.
“Ideally it will be a business that isn’t doing bad stuff – like battery caged hens or being bad for the environment – and also good for the community around it.”
Although the winning candidate should be able to show it had overcome hurdles and battled adversity to gain success, Sterling said.
“We like to see that they are passionate and live their business,” he added. “With good entrepreneurs it is hard to tell where they end and their business starts.”
As well as the prize money, Sterling said the competition would be a good opportunity to gain exposure and be introduced to a highly experienced judging panel.
The judging panel includes Pizza Express, Patisserie Valerie, Feng Sushi, Strada, Giraffe and Gail’s Artisan Bakery founder Luke Johnson, Industry guru Paul Wilkinson, Lord Karan Bilimoria of Cobra Beer, Julian Metcalfe of Pret a Manger and Itsu and Lord Noon of Noon Foods.
The award is brought to you by The Food Awards Company and sponsored by Investec.
“They are fairly unique awards,” claimed Sterling. “We are excited about it, it’s great for the sector, and great for the industry as products resonate with people because they all know what they eat.”