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Food and drink start-ups raise a glass, as The Seed Fund reveals Final Five

Amy Brice

The Seed Fund Final 5

The Seed Fund has announced its Final Five today, with just a handful of food and drink start-ups now left in the running to win the philanthropic project’s annual prize. Fresh from a packed summer of learning with The Seed Fund Academy, supported by The Collaborators and Great Taste, these ambitious entrepreneurs will now go head-to-head as they pitch to the mentors one last time, for their chance to win a full year of tailored business support, estimated to be worth over £100,000.

From bubbles to bar snacks, this year’s Final Five are all producers of distinctly grown-up treats. The shortlist includes Rathlee Distilling Company, makers of Latin American rum blended with pure Cornish water, Green Lady from London, the UK’s first ever sparkling tea, and Dorset Sea Salt, hand harvested from the Jurassic Coast. Made for Drink, based in Berkshire, brings its premium bar snacks to the fold, all designed to pair perfectly with alcoholic drinks, while Norty Puds from Bristol completes the line-up, with its indulgent single-serve pudding pots that are free from gluten, dairy, soya and refined-sugar.

These fledgling food and drink start-ups will now prepare one final pitch to take this year’s trophy, before The Seed Fund Academy Champion is announced on Sunday 2 September at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner, held at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel, London. Pulling together everything they have learned during the Academy sessions, from approaching retail and raising investment to marketing, PR and social media, each producer will explain how they will turn their big ideas into big business as they make their case for the top prize.

Jayne Noblet, founder of The Seed Fund and owner of The Collaborators, comments:

“With over 200 entries into The Seed Fund Academy 2018, the bar has definitely been raised this year, so our Final Five have stood out against some serious competition to get this far. It’s been such a joy to watch them develop throughout the Academy sessions, both through the guidance of our mentors and by sharing ideas and challenges throughout the process, and I’m confident that they now have the tools, knowledge and network required to make the leap from start-up to serious player. We’re now just five pitches away from finding our 2018 champion and I can’t wait for The Seed Fund to take its place at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner once again. It’s a big night for everyone and our winner will take the stage alongside some of the UK and Ireland’s most respected producers, catapulting them into the spotlight as they embark on the next leg of their journey.”

This year’s Seed Fund Academy Champion will be announced on Sunday 2 September at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner, held at the InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel.

The Seed Fund will also be hosting a series of ‘Start-Up Spotlight’ sessions at Speciality & Fine Food Fair this year, taking place on the Food for Thought Stage from 3:30pm-4:15pm on each day of the show, which runs from Sunday 2 to Tuesday 4 September. Featuring ‘Dragon’s Den’ style presentations from nine start-ups, the winner will receive a free stand at next year’s show, as well as a range of business support tools. Visitors can meet The Seed Fund team and Academy members on Stands 2880-2887, as ‘Seed Street’ makes its first appearance at the exhibition.

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