Food and Drink North East (FADNE) has agreed a partnership with the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise to deliver innovation projects in the food and drink sector.
The National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE) officially launched on 1st September 2020 and aims to foster innovation and enterprise across rural economies and share the knowledge gained from this to inform policy and support services for rural enterprise.
In England alone, rural businesses comprise over half a million enterprises, 3.6 million employees and contribute over £260 billion to GDP. Yet despite this, they are still largely underexplored and underutilised.
Through the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise, the aim is to help build the capabilities of policy makers, support agencies, rural businesses and their advisers to create resilient and sustainable economies fit for the 21st century.
“A thriving rural economy is crucial to the future prosperity, well-being and resilience of communities across the UK” says Centre Director Jeremy Phillipson, Professor of Rural Development at Newcastle University.
“Our aim is to strengthen the evidence base relating to rural innovation and enterprise to encourage more effective policy making and support for rural firms and communities at local and national levels. We will work actively with businesses, rural communities and economic development agencies at the local level to share learning and test new approaches to innovation and enterprise.”
FADNE will work as a NICRE Innovation Associate alongside Newcastle University, to co-design and deliver a programme of enterprise and innovation pump priming activities around digital transformation and low carbon logistics in the food and drink sector.
Founder of FADNE, Chris Jewitt, says “We are proud to be named as Innovation Associate and are very excited to be working on the NICRE project alongside some excellent partners. We look forward to unlocking some of the challenges ahead.”
As part of the programme, NICRE will work closely with FADNE’s network of businesses to better understand capacity in food and drink SME’s practices in relation to innovation uptake/adoption, unlock their untapped potential, and stimulate transformative business collaborations and innovations in last mile delivery.
The work will contribute to NICRE’s aim of catalysing place-based rural innovation and enterprise projects, which are expected to:
- build the capacity of circa 300 rural businesses, for innovation and transformation actions (e.g. new products and services)
- involve cross-sector representation
- demonstrate social return on investment
- stimulate a diverse portfolio of innovations (process, product, service, policy, social)
To find out more about NICRE, please visit https://ncl.ac.uk/nicre/