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SSU Cluster Newsletter - January 2023


And just like that, another year is over; another year that has brought with it even more challenges for Welsh food and drink businesses. The SSU Cluster team has been working with food and drink businesses up and down Wales to tackle these challenges and working on building resilience for the months ahead. If you want to discuss challenges that you’re currently facing in your food or drink business with one of our Cluster Managers, visit our Team Page to see their expertise and contact details.

Following on from our Money To Grow conference last year, we are pleased to announce that our next conference, Productivity: Shape Up To Scale Up, takes place on 2 February 2023 and registration is now open.

Improving productivity has never been more crucial for a food and drink sector which is facing a perfect storm of spiralling input inflation and the spectre of falling demand in a cost of living crisis.

Join us at the AMRC facility in Broughton on 2 February 2023 to explore and find solutions to the productivity conundrum, including how to unlock and fund those productivity improvements which are needed for long-term financial sustainability. You can also pre-book appointments with finance providers to explore suitable finance options for your needs.

For more details and to book your free space and 1:1 appointment visit our website.

Blog: A weak pound; What does this mean for the Welsh food and drink sector?

John Taylerson, Sustainable Scale Up Cluster Lead, looks at the implications of the weak pound on Welsh food or drink businesses and what actions businesses should be taking.

Read more HERE.

Cymru Connects is developing robust supply chains – sign up now

The Welsh food and drink sector is facing unprecedented supply chain cost pressures which are predicted to get worse over the coming months.

Cymru Connects is a pilot procurement platform solution aimed at supporting producers to develop more efficient and robust supply chains and is currently looking for businesses to register on the platform.

Read on for details on how to sign up HERE.

Is a Non-Executive Director right for my business? 3 reasons why a NED might be beneficial

You might ask why would you consider bringing a Non-Executive Director (NED) into your food or drink business? After all, no-one knows your business better than you, you know it inside out!

Read more HERE.

Access to Capacity

Thank you to the team at Hensol Castle Distillery who kindly hosted our Access To Capacity event in November. The event was centred around contract manufacturing as a means of overcoming capacity issues when growing a food or drink business, and will be followed up with two more events in 2023, so keep an eye on your inbox for more details.

What’s Hot, What’s Not in Finance

The NatWest Accelerator Programme is now OPEN for applications for the March 2023 cohort.

You may be looking to build your team, venture into new markets or seeking further investment. Furthermore, you don’t have to be a NatWest customer to take part in Accelerator.

Oxbury New Gen fund

One of the major barriers for young people entering the farming industry is access to finance. Oxbury will change this traditional approach from banks and help new farmers take the opportunities they are committed to.

Read on HERE.

Foodservice Update Q4 2022: What’s on the Menu? Special Edition Food Costs Outlook

Food prices have escalated in 2022 and uncertainty about 2023 is high, making purchasing planning and strategies for the coming year even more difficult than usual. Rabobank asked their food & agribusiness specialists what their expectations are for the near future in terms of prices for items such as dairy, fresh products, bakery products, meat and beyond.

Read on HERE.

Safeguarding Workers’ Rights in the Food & Drink Sector in Wales

Food Skills Cymru, working in partnership with the Welsh Government’s Social Partnership, Employability and Fair Work Directorate, will be running three online workshops in January 2023 to provide an opportunity to learn more about workers’ rights in the context of the food and drink sector in Wales.

For more details and to book HERE.

Knowledge Bank – resources at your fingertips

Whether you’re looking to improve your finance knowledge for making better finance decisions, want to weigh up the different finance options to buy or lease new equipment, vehicles or premises or just need plain English explanations for finance jargon, the new Knowledge Bank on our website offers you resources to help with these and more. Visit the Knowledge Bank to see the resources available, we’ll be adding more over the coming weeks.

The 2023 Food and Drink Awards Wales are now open for applications

With two new categories, Farm to Fork Business of the Year and Wales Food and Drink Champion, the awards are also heading to a new location for the award ceremony on 18th May, Venue Cymru.

You have until 17th March to get your applications in – visit HERE for more details.

Economic Outlook and Consumer Behaviour Impact Webinar

In October we invited the Food & Drink Wales Insight Programme to present an update on the economic outlook and consumer behaviour impact. The team delivered a highly informative and detailed review and forecast of the GB economy along with the implications for the food and drink industry.

If you missed it, watch it HERE.

SSU Cluster Members visit Oxbury Bank HQ

Compared to other banks, Oxbury Bank is relatively new on the finance scene having only been lending since 2021. We took a group of SSU Cluster members to their head office in Chester to meet the team and learn a bit more about what makes Oxbury different to other lenders.

Read more about the visit HERE.

Get in Touch!

Are you a Welsh food and drink company with ambitions to scale up but not sure where to start? Our Regional Cluster Managers are available for one to one consultations to learn more about your growth ambitions.

Get in touch with them HERE to arrange your 1:1.

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