Students from eight of the UK's top higher education institutes for agrifood have reached the finals of the Smith & Williamson Grassroutes Business Challenge 2009.

Teams will battle it out in front of 12 food industry figures on 24 November. They will be set a food supply chain business challenge and six hours later will have to pitch a strategy. The two best teams will complete a further challenge to find the winner.

The contest aimed to encourage a wider understanding of the business challenges facing food chain sectors, said Steve Ellwood, head of the Smith & Williamson food and agriculture team. "As the economy strives to recover from recession, this sector can make a growing contribution to national output."

The challenge is supported by Warburtons and the Royal Agricultural College, and The Grocer is media partner.