Help for young people to get started in food production
The future of the food industry is largely in the hands of small-scale producers, and it is clear that we need more small food businesses in Wales if we want to produce our food in a sustainable way.
By Miriam Fisher, Crickhowell
With the cost of university education at an all-time high, the idea of owning and running a successful food business is an ever more appetising option for young people in Wales like me. We want to stay living here, but what if there are no jobs?
There is a huge amount of help and support out there, from feedback on business ideas, to courses, to funding and mentoring.
A good place to start is look at what opportunities there are to sell food right now in Crickhowell.
Also, it is worth having a look at the New Food Entrepreneurs website for great examples of food businesses in Wales and elsewhere. This website was built by the same people starting up this project in Crickhowell.
I have researched what’s out there and have come up with this list. (If you spot a gap, get in touch!)
Help to get going with new business ideas
Big Ideas Wales offer support for young people interested in starting their own business. They have a website full of useful information and advice for young entrepreneurs, from thinking about setting up a business, to marketing and employing people. They also run workshops all over Wales to inspire young people and support their ideas. Role Models, people with their own business, deliver these workshops and can be provide on-going help.
They are really friendly too and happy to talk.
Agora is a project that supports small food businesses in south east Wales. They can help if you have new business ideas you want to develop.
Enterprise Nation is a UK membership organisation for entrepreneurs. It organises lots of things, including 300 meetings a year on different topics. They have a Next Generation project for young entrepreneurs and they support female entrepreneurs through the She Means Business project.
The Prince’s Trust helps young people aged 18-30 to start their own business. Whether you have a business in mind or simply want to explore an idea, they provide training, mentoring and funding through their free business start-up support. You can either take part in this programme at one of their centres in Wales or sign up to Enterprise Online.
And for people a little further down the line…….
Food Innovation Wales, backed by Welsh Government, brings together three food centres: The ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre (Cardiff Metropolitan University), The Food Centre Wales (Horeb, Ceredigion) and The Food Technology Centre (Coleg Menai). These food centres can provide feedback on new ideas, help to develop and test new products and provide technical advice on food technology.
- The Food Technology Centre at Coleg Menai offers training courses for those at the beginning of their career in the food industry. Among their courses are ‘Starting a food business’ and ‘Bespoke food manufacturing’. They also provide technical advice and can give space in their test kitchens for you to develop new products in commercial-grade facilities.
- The Food Centre Wales in Horeb, Ceredigion, offers training courses in things like food safety, cheese-making, ice-cream making and meat products. They offer technical advice and new business incubator units with all the equipment needed for commercial food production.
- ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Like the other centres the provide technical advice on new product development including kitchens to test new ideas. They also run a university degree in food production. They run a 3-day summer school every July and an annual competition for school pupils to develop a new product idea every June.
Further education courses
Here are some courses in growing and food production in Wales, though you could go anywhere in UK or even beyond to find more.
Food Science & Technology degree at Cardiff Met offers an entry into the food industry.
Cambria Training in Welshpool offers food & drink apprenticeships.
Coleg Sir Gar in Carmarthen offers a number of part-time and full-time courses and apprenticeships in horticulture.
A lot of these resources and courses are currently unavailable due to COVID-19. Please check their individual websites for further updates.
If you want to learn about growing food during a climate emergency, check out Learn how to grow food sustainably and make money.