Philanthropic food and drink start-up accelerator, The Seed Fund will open for entry on Saturday 1 February, with 12 spots up for grabs on its game changing summer Academy. For the first time ever, marks will be set aside for socially responsible initiatives during the initial application stage and judging process, so the project’s organisers are particularly keen to hear from value-driven businesses across the UK.
With a growing number of food and drink start-ups placing ethical considerations at the core of their business models, The Seed Fund has witnessed a steady increase in applications from those looking to give back from the word go. Whether cutting food waste, introducing more sustainable packaging, protecting wildlife or supporting vulnerable groups, many innovative entrepreneurs are now as focused on positive impact as profit, and will now earn extra credit for this as The Seed Fund’s mentors make their way through hundreds of applications.
Founded by The Collaborators and run in partnership with Great Taste, the world’s most coveted food awards, The Seed Fund is now in its eighth year and has supported a diverse range of entrepreneurs since its inception, from brewers and bakers to farmers and fermenters. This year’s programme will cover branding, funding, finance, tone of voice, social media, PR and more, including an investment day at Piper Private Equity in Notting Hill. A final shortlist will also be invited to the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner in September, where one eventual winner will be awarded a further year of business support and brand development.
Jayne Noblet of The Collaborators, founder of The Seed Fund, explains:
“If you’re bringing a new business into the universe right now, there’s a strong argument to say that it should have sustainability at its core from the outset. Be that sourcing ingredients, replenishing the soil, finding the right packaging or providing jobs for those that might need support to get into work. With a growing consumer demand for food and drink businesses to be ethical and sustainable, we feel that socially responsible brands should be given extra credit by our judges and are potentially the most deserving of The Seed Fund’s support. Given the challenges facing society and the environment today, it seems natural for new businesses to push in this direction – otherwise they will find themselves swimming uphill! We’ve seen some incredible start-ups coming through the Academy, with so much appetite for giving back, so we’re really excited to see who applies this year.”
Open to award-winning start-ups and part-time producers alike, The Seed Fund can accept entries from any food and drink businesses that have been trading for less than four years, with a turnover under £1,000,000 per annum. The Seed Fund Academy’s Class of 2020 will be announced in May.