Programme to provide support for City Region’s food loving entrepreneurs

Running a business in the food industry can be far from a piece of cake, which is why experienced restaurateurs, food manufacturers and chefs based in the region are being given a unique chance to collaborate with some of the newest and most promising food entrepreneurs in the Sheffield City Region.

Food Futures, which takes place on the 26th May at Sheffield Town Hall during the Sheffield Food Festival, will provide budding and existing food entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet and discuss their entrepreneurial ideas with experienced business mentors. Hosted by Launchpad Mentoring – a specialist business support service which forms part of the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub’s Launchpad programme – Food Futures is designed to help new entrepreneurs and start-up businesses to access help and support during the all-important first steps of their business journey.

After seeing a significant increase in start-up businesses within the Food sector, the Launchpad Mentoring team be attending the Food Futures programme, providing individuals who are thinking of launching a business in the food industry the chance to meet industry experts, existing business owners, as well as finding out more about the mentoring opportunities available to new businesses based in the Sheffield City Region.

As well as providing the opportunity for budding business owners to pick the brains of the Launchpad Mentoring team on a range of business start-up subjects, they will be hosting a World Café session to allow attendees to discuss business ideas and issues with experienced Launchpad Mentors.

Starting at 11am, the day long Food Futures programme will include a range of lectures and seminars from 12pm onwards, focusing on topics such as ‘Essential core values for running a successful restaurant’ and ‘How to get started in the food industry’ – hosted by a number of start-up business owners which received support from the Launchpad programme, including Max Scotford of Bullion Chocolate and William Chew of Mak Tok, who were both shortlisted for the prestigious title of Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 at the inaugural Launchpad Awards, which took place earlier this year.

Alongside providing advice and information on the Launchpad programme to enthusiastic entrepreneurs, successful and experienced business owners operating within the food industry can sign up to become a Launchpad mentor to engage, support and develop skills with entrepreneurs engaged with the programme.

Irshad Akbar, Mentoring Manager, Launchpad Mentoring said:

“Since the Launchpad programme began in 2016, it has supported a number of entrepreneurs and start-up business owners who possess passion and determination to bring their product or service to the food market, from spicy sauces, cakes and pastries and international specialities.

“We have noticed a significant rise in the number of applications to the Launchpad programme from entrepreneurs hoping to make it in the Food and Drink industry. During the Sheffield Food Festival we are aiming to forge stronger links between established business owners working in the food and drinks industry and new exciting entrepreneurs, creating opportunities to connect, collaborate, and use their knowledge and expertise to help the next generation of entrepreneurs across the Sheffield City Region achieve their full potential.

“Our team will be at the Food Futures event on the 26th of May, providing advice and tips on launching a business for the first time, as well as information on the support both the Launchpad and Mentoring programmes deliver to business owners and entrepreneurs across the City Region.”

Sheffield Food Festival takes place from 26th to 28th May, with food, drink and music stalls across the City. The Food Futures programme is on 26th May from 11am to 6pm at the Sheffield Town Hall, Pinstone Street and is free to enter. More information can be found at

The Launchpad programme is a £4M, three year, part-ERDF funded programme, designed to increase the business stock in the Sheffield City Region (SCR) through the provision of pre start, start up and post start up support. The programme commenced on 1st April 2016 for an initial period of 3 years.

The project is receiving up to £2,358,962 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.