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The Seed Fund serves up food for thought, as Class of 2017 is announced

Amy Brice

Jam-packed with sauces, snacks, soft drinks and single origin chocolate, The Seed Fund Academy has announced its Class of 2017, with 13 fledgling food and drink businesses now set to benefit from an intensive educational summer programme, hosted by a group of leading industry experts.

Having impressed the mentors during the first round of judging, these hand-picked start-ups will be offered a series of seminars, workshops, industry visits and meet-the-buyer events. Designed to help food and drink’s future stars transform their big ideas into big business, The Seed Fund Academy will provide expert guidance from buyers, marketers, investors, accountants and established entrepreneurs, while also encouraging the Class of 2017 to share their experiences and bring fresh ideas to the table.

Partnering with Great Taste for the first time this year, The Seed Fund has reached out further than ever before, compiling an Academy line-up that reflects the nation’s evolving tastes and changing needs from the food and drink industry. The Seed Fund Academy’s 13 members for 2017 include:

  • Barmies, Nottingham – baked snacks made from 'beer barm'
  • Bullion Chocolate, Sheffield – single origin chocolate
  • FIREPOT by Outdoorfood, Ryall, Dorset – dehydrated meals for outdoor adventure
  • Funky Elephant, London – fresh Indian sauces and marinades
  • Gaia Pulses, London – organic pulse-based products
  • Grounded Drinks, London – 100% raw fruit water
  • Happy Butter, Totnes, Devon – organic ghee
  • Ma Baker, London – micro bakery
  • MiiRO, London – dairy and gluten free, raw chocolate coated lollies
  • Northumberland Honey Co, Haltwhistle, Northumberland – bee-to-bottle sparkling mead
  • Olly’s Olives, London – naturally cured olives
  • Oompf Energy, Upwey, Dorset – 100% natural energy bars and balls for athletes
  • The Urban Cordial Company, London – handmade small-batch seasonal cordials

Fresh from the pitches that landed them a place in this year’s Seed Fund Academy, these 13 start-ups will now immerse themselves in a summer of business development, spending time with well-respected industry professionals and business leaders, such as Guy Tullberg from Tracklements, top baker Tom Herbert, Renée Elliott from Planet Organic, John and Tortie Farrand from the Guild of Fine Food, Primrose Matheson from Primrose's Kitchen, Nicki Stewart and Mark Wiltshire from Diverse Fine Food and Jayne Noblet and David Webb from branding consultancy, The Collaborators.

Jayne Noblet, owner of The Collaborators and founder of The Seed Fund, explains;

“With record entries and an incredible first round of judging, it’s been quite a year for The Seed Fund already, but we know the best is yet to come. Having partnered with Great Taste to reach out across the whole of the UK for the first time this year, we’ve been blown away by the innovative products and driven individuals that have come before us, very much reflecting the changing face of food and drink today. We can’t wait to get stuck into The Seed Fund Academy and help them to find their way to the next level, as our mentors continue to give their time to nurture the next generation of talent that’s emerging in our industry.”

Following this year’s Seed Fund Academy, one eventual winner will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Awards Dinner in September, receiving a further year of support.

For more information about The Seed Fund, please visit www.theseedfund.co.uk.