Free expert workshops helping agri-food businesses to grow

The Food Network has over 60 businesses already involved and is looking at expanding to hundreds of businesses in Mid and East Antrim
The Food Network has over 60 businesses already involved and is looking at expanding to hundreds of businesses in Mid and East Antrim

Expert workshops are helping local businesses get a bite of the action with Mid and East Antrim’s Food Network.

Local agri-food businesses are learning how to grow their businesses with a number of free workshops as part of the borough’s Food Network.

The network aims to get agri-food businesses working together to promote the sector, in and out of the borough, as not only somewhere for ‘foodies’ to get fresh, local, high quality produce but also to open doors for them to bag contracts to grow their businesses.

Sixty businesses are already involved and the Council is hoping to expand this to even more local chefs, producers, agri-food and hospitality businesses.

The network is free to join and meets monthly at themed workshops, featuring the food industry’s top specialist speakers, who reveal the tricks of the trade to take businesses from strength to strength.

At each workshop there is also a chance for those who attend to meet other local businesses in the sector to learn from their experiences and potentially forge new relationships that could benefit traders.

The network also offers unique opportunities to exhibit at major trade shows at heavily reduced rates with mentoring support. Already this year Mid & East Antrim Council has taken producers to Balmoral, Ifex, and London’s Speciality and Fine Food Fair and it has its sights on further shows in Great Britain in 2019.

The next workshop is on building brand awareness with Great Taste judge and sales manager for one of Britain’s leading cheesemongers, Paxton & Whitfield, Jeremy Bowen.

This practical workshop will give a 10 point plan on how to get a local brand ‘out there’.

Other workshops include, how to apply for food awards from a leading Irish food award founder Fallon Moore, a meet the bloggers event, tips and tricks for packaging and product development, first steps to export markets and more.

There is also a new Facebook group for members of the network to join which is private and allows them a forum to ask questions and share learning.

For more details, including how to join, to www.amplifymidandeastantrim.com

Amplify is a new and fresh Integrated Economic Development Strategy for Mid and East Antrim for 2018 – 2030.

A shared vision for growing the economy in the borough, Amplify will be delivered through five critical strategic economic priorities: Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Employment and Skills; Infrastructure; and, Inclusion and Wellbeing.