With a record number of entrepreneurs now looking to build their own business in the sector a growing number of programs are offering access to expert advice, space and cash. 

The Hatchery

1. The Hatchery

Who’s behind it? Founder of The Black Farmer, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones

What do they look for? Only launched in April, with its first three participants, the scheme is looking for “mission driven entrepreneurs” in the very early stages of their development

What do they offer? Investment but also “hands on” expertise and mentoring from Emmanuel-Jones and the opportunity to network and learn from other businesses within the scheme

For more info: www.theblackfarmer.com/the-hatchery

Incubator schemes: growing startup talent

Nutrition Greenhouse

2. Nutrition Greenhouse

Who’s behind it? PepsiCo

What do they look for? Kicking off its second program this week PepsiCo is seeking to identify up to 10 emerging brands in the nutrition space with products aimed at European consumers, currently making €5 million or less in sales. The deadline is June 11.

What do they offer? An initial grant of €20,000 and the opportunity to work alongside specialised mentors in-house, with a winning business given €100,000 (in exchange for a period of exclusivity) at the end.

For more infohttp://www.nutritiongreenhouse.com/


3. JLab

Who’s behind it? John Lewis / Waitrose

What do they look for? In April the scheme launched in its new format, with three specialised programs each year, kicking off with a search for tech businesses looking to help consumers create ‘healthy lifestyles.’

What do they offer? Access to a 12-week program with office space, mentoring and access to data and insights from the John Lewis Partnership, and the opportunity for investment and ongoing partnerships at the end

For more infohttps://jlab.co.uk/

Heather Mills

4. VBites Ventures

Who’s behind it? Vbites, founded by Heather Mills

What do they look for? The scheme is set to announce its first round of participants this month, all of which will be developing plant-based products and meat alternatives.

What do they offer? Investment, expert help in scaling up and manufacturing, the opportunity to get a ‘per unit’ cost on white label manufacture from existing vegan-accredited facilities, shared services and office space in Newcastle.

For more infohttps://vbitesventures.com/


5. Springboard

Who’s behind it? Kraft Heinz

What do they look for? ‘Disruptive’ brands that make healthy, organic and experiential products

What do they offer? Access to the company’s distribution and marketing expertise, research and development and consumer insights as well as investment, and guidance on how to secure additional funding

For more infohttps://www.springboardbrands.com/


6. Voom 

Who’s behind it? Virgin Media Business

What do they look for? Starting out in 2012 as ‘Pitch to Rich’, Voom now receives thousands of entries each year from those looking to either kickstart their business or scale up an existing one. Finalists this year will pitch their idea to Richard Branson on 23 May.

What do they offer? Entrants can raise money through their pitch pages throughout the process. The winners of the two categories – Spark & Startup and Scale & Grow – will receive a share of the £1m in prizes and an invitation to the FastTrack 100 Conference and awards dinner to attract mentoring and financial support.

For more infohttps://www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/voom/


7. Distill Ventures

Who’s behind it? Diageo

What do they look for? Those looking to bring ’unique alcoholic or non-alcoholic spirits to market’ or to build on an existing brand.

What do they offer? Investment from spirits producer Diageo, support to build a bespoke plan for growth, and expert advice from those at Distill Ventures.

For more infowww.distillventures.com


8. Square One Foods

Who’s behind it? Andre Schneider, Walter Scherb and Michael Goblirsch / Spitz

What do they look for? Only launched in January the scheme operates with the backing of Austrian food producer Spitz to find innovative food and drink start-ups

What do they offer? In exchange for a minority share in the business, ranging from 15-25%, it offers seed capital, use of its existing partnerships with European retailers, a ‘pool of service providers’, and potentially the opportunity to have the product produced at Spitz, though this is not compulsory.

For more info: https://www.squareonefoods.com/


9. Grocery Accelerator

Who’s behind it? Paddy Willis (co-founder of Plum Baby), Simon Lacey (founder of Idea to Shelf) and Rob Ward.

What do they look for? Now in its third year, the scheme seeks to boost UK food and drink companies in the early stages. To date, it has secured over £3m of investment for its portfolio.

What do they offer? A unique investment and a 12-month Accelerator Programme for the winning businesses.

For more infohttp://groceryaccelerator.co.uk/

Food foundry

10. The Food Foundry

Who’s behind it? Mason Fantasia and Jay Nguyen / Union Kitchen DC

What do they look for? Start-up food and drink companies who are struggling to find workspace and to get their products from concept to supermarket shelf.

What do they offer? After receiving help to develop a concept, participants will have access to MyLocalKitchen to help them find a nearby, affordable kitchen space, and access to MyLocalShelf which allows participants to rent shelf space and start building a customer base.

For more info: https://thefoodfoundry.uk/


11. Crowdfooding

Who’s behind it? Alessio D’Antino, Sara Roversi and Andrea Magelli

What do they look for? As a ‘collaborative platform for the food and drink industry’ Crowdfooding brings together startups and potential investors, enabling collaboration to bring new products to market.

What do they offer? Help with online sales through its own online platform, with finding alternatives routes to market, and with building connections with Crowdfooding’s corporate partners.

For more infohttps://crowdfooding.co.uk/