Perfect storm thwarting small food and drink firms

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There is a perfect storm holding back fast-growing small food and drink firms, according to entrepreneurs celebrated by the government.

Market access, funding, exports and building sales and distribution were the biggest barriers to growth, food and drink entrepreneurs told They were participants at the Food Stars event held by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) last week.

Lynne Mallinson, md of Cumbria-based Country Puddings, said securing funding was a challenge because banks often weren’t helpful and other sources of funding were harder to find out about.

Not supportive

“The banks went through a stage of not being terribly supportive, [but there’s] Business Angels or group funding – where you can pitch yourself to a company like Funding Circle. It’s just about working out the best thing for your company or situation.”

Watch this video to hear why co-founder of vegetarian hot dog firm Not Dogs, Katie McDermott, said cash flow was key to her business’s growth as it looked to take on more staff.

Also, hear the views of the bosses of Westaway Sausages, Pilton Cider, The Coconut Kitchen and Abernethy Butter.

The Food Stars event brought together 50 entrepreneurial food and drink businesses to celebrate their influences on the UK’s food and drink market, economy and jobs.

Find out more about the 50 businesses in an interactive map at the bottom of this article.

‘Bright innovators’

Environment secretary Liz Truss said recognising “bright innovators” would help them become the major players in the industry in the future.

“As a country we’ve always been a place where sparky entrepreneurs come up with great innovations in food and drink, people with the ambition to take on the world,” she claimed.

“Now is the time to celebrate that success which is helping grow our economy.”

Meanwhile, click here to watch our exclusive video filmed at the event with Truss to find out why DEFRA was backing new probes in to red tape.


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