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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

New support scheme sprouts up for food and farm innovators

Mid and East Antrim Council is launching another new support for food and farm businesses in the Borough this week - and it’s a new breed of programme.

Sprout is replacing the traditional format of workshops and mentoring with a unique package of expert consultancy.

Launching Sprout, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston said:

“Food production and processing are essential to the economy of the Borough. We want to support those ideas and businesses that are looking to the future of the industry that will build a resilient and sustainable food supply chain. We want to hear from the innovators and inventors, the people who want to experiment and try new things.”

The programme manager Helen Keys explains:

“We want to step in and offer food and farm innovators just what they need to get their ideas to the next stage; whether that’s building a prototype, making the first sales or getting finances.

“Traditional business programmes are important for developing business skills but this is about levering in expertise that you would never be able to develop yourself. It could be technical drawings, packaging design or production processes; each innovator will get their own package of support.”

The agri-food sector is an important contributor to the Mid and East Antrim area economy through employment and sales revenue and this is one of a series of measures being launched by the Council this Spring; Mid and East Antrim Food and Drink Network and the Agri-Food Demonstrator Pilot Grant Scheme will be running alongside Sprout.

The first call for applicants closes at 5pm on 30 April, after which two places on the programme will be awarded to successful applicants. Further calls for applicants will follow every month, with ten places being awarded in total.

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