The Food and Fisheries Programme is an innovative new programme which is being developed, delivered and managed on behalf on of the SEED (South East Economic Development,) the consortium consisting of councils including Ards, Armagh, Craigavon, Down and Newry and Mourne which are working together to support food and fisheries businesses in the region.
The programme combines two key activities:
1. Provision of business development advice and support, including product development , to 25 food sector companies in the SEED area.
Early work with businesses recruited to the programme has already created new links and joint opportunities for business development.
2. The establishment of a SEED Food and Tourism Forum, bringing together up to 150 hotels. restaurants, tourism facilities and providers with the above local food producers to develop food as a strong tourism product of the area.
The Forum was officially launched in January 2010 and already has a number of businesses participating in the Forum. By establishing links, this will make it easier for businesses throughout the Council areas to have an awareness of what is available in the area, to inter-trade and to provide support one another. The programme will also build a local food calendar by a programme of development work and market local food products at events and festivals in the SEED region. A website is also being developed which businesses can use as a portal to promote their individual business which will also promote the South East of Northern Ireland as a unique destination for residents and visitors alike.
Eligible businesses are small/medium sized businesses trading in the food or fish/aquaculture sectors and be based in one of the above Council areas.
The programme commenced in November 2009 and combines 6 key elements including:
- Business skills master class
- A bespoke business audit/health check
- Individual business mentoring
- Support in the development of a tailored business plan for your business
- Meet the Buyer events
- Best practice visit to London
The programme was identified as a priority action within the SEED councils’ joint economic development strategy launched in 2008. Following successful application to DETI EU Programmes Branch the project is 50% funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland, with the five SEED councils and participating companies providing match funding. Total programme cost: £200,025.
Additional collaborative projects with other Councils in the SEED area are in preparation, and will be rolled out subject to funding approval.
For further details please contact:
Cultural and Economic Development Department
Down District Council
T: 028 4461 9870
The Project is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland