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Three universities collaborate to help equip next generation of entrepreneurs in Scotland’s food and drink sector

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An ambitious new collaborative initiative to help the next generation of entrepreneurs achieve success in the food and drink industry has been launched by three Scottish higher education institutions.

Developed by Dundee’s Abertay University, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University, a new initiative called THRIVE will aim to attract and nurture fresh talent in the nation’s food and drink sector.

Aiming to address a major issue outlined in the Scotland Food and Drink Ambition 2030, the initiative will look to create a renewed culture of innovation in the sector.

It will also aim to help students and recent graduates gain a clear understanding of what is required to enter the food and drink sector by learning from both academics from all three institutions and industry professionals, through intensive weekend sessions.

THRIVE will run intensive online workshops over two weekends on November 6 and 13, to help students and recent graduates from the three institutions gain essential entry-level knowledge, as well as the business and technical skills that are necessary to take an idea from concept to product or service development.

Participants will also benefit from an outstanding educational experience with access to workshops on new product development, food technology, marketing, business and pitching along with legislation, financial planning and general business support information.

Industry voice

Chef Barry Bryson, who graduated from SRUC and now runs his own catering business in Edinburgh, says he thinks the THRIVE initiative is a great idea and will likely have a positive impact on the future of the industry.

He said: “I am delighted to learn of this new initiative and hope it achieves the positive impact I think it has to potential to create within the industry.

“As a former SRUC student, I can say with complete confidence that they really helped me understand the environment I would go into professionally later on so I think this new collaborative idea will help set the scene for a strong future hospitality sector.

Chef Barry Bryson

“Broadening out student knowledge by including industry professionals as well as academics means a much wider viewpoint and could help students identify the kitchens and environments they’d like to work in at an early stage of their careers.

“I also think that the key to achieving the long-term aims of the Scottish hospitality sector should be increased standards and skills across the spectrum of all kitchens, not just the top tier.

“We need to broaden the conversation about working in the industry and make it more inclusive, more direct between professionals and also more entrepreneurial, as I myself found this was the best way forwards.

“The next generation of chefs and cooks in Scotland should continue to help develop Scotland’s enviable reputation for high-quality produce and for cooking”.

Abertay support

Dr Jonathan Wilkin, a senior lecturer in New Product Development at Abertay University, added: “We are delighted to be bringing our extensive experience in food innovation and new product development to this project.

“The food and drink industry is massively important to Scotland’s economy and finding unique, creative and sustainable ways to produce and promote our nation’s excellent products is vital to the sector’s success.

“The next generation of food and drink entrepreneurs are coming through Scotland’s schools, colleges and universities with bags of enthusiasm, talent and fresh thinking, so it is fantastic that THRIVE is in place to support that.”

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