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SSU Cluster Newsletter - June 2022


It was lovely to see so many businesses attending our Money To Grow conference at the Royal Mint. Many expressed how refreshing it was to be able to meet face to face once again, and how they had missed these networking opportunities. There was a good mix of food or drink businesses, finance providers, investors and other stakeholders present, which made for a highly informative day. If you couldn’t make it on the day, catch up with what you missed HERE and read on for John Taylerson’s blog about what he learnt at the conference. On the back of our conference, the Cluster’s team is now keen to hit the road and host a variety of events across Wales – all with the aim of supporting the growth of food and drink businesses in Wales. Keep an eye on your inbox and our events page for details of these events as they’re released.

The Cost of Money: Equity Investment – What’s That All About? Part 2

Wyn Jones, Regional Cluster Manager

In our last newsletter I looked in more detail at the equity options for a business that is typically in the early stages of its life cycle; three Fs (family, friends and founder), crowdfunding and business angels. This time I’ll be examining venture capital, private equity, and initial public offerings. These types of options are typical for a well established business further along in its life cycle.

Read part two HERE

What I learned at the Money to Grow Conference, by John Taylerson

On 24th March I attended the Sustainable Scale Up Cluster’s first annual conference at the Royal Mint with a large group of food and drink business, banks and financiers, non-executive directors and professionals from the industry to highlight what food and drink manufacturers can do to scale, whilst hearing about financial support from the finance professionals. .”

Read more HERE

Sustainable Scale Up Cluster’s Non-Executive Director Programme

“There was always a weakness in our structure, there was nobody other than me who had that senior food experience…”

Mike Woods, Managing Director, Just Love Food

Recognising that there are gaps in your company’s competencies is one of the key challenges that food or drink businesses face when planning to scale up. The Sustainable Scale Up Cluster’s new Non-Executive Director Programme aims to help businesses identify those gaps in knowledge, skills or experience and offer a solution in the form of a Non-Executive Director.

Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) are experienced senior executives who have a broad view of business and the sector and can reflect a good view of a business strategy. They are often a key element in business governance, regularly making them the line of defence for decisions that can impact the business.

Allergen free cake manufacturer, Just Love Food, has two NEDs on their Board, listen to Managing Director Mike Woods talking about his experience of working with NEDs HERE

How do you know if your business could benefit from appointing a NED? What does it entail? Read more about NEDs here and download the Board Skills Matrix to help identify any gaps you may have in your business.

What’s Hot, What’s Not in Finance

JamJar Investments raises £100m fund to back a new generation of challenger brands

London, UK – British VC JamJar Investments has raised a fund of over £100m from institutional investors, founders and via a crowdfund to expand their ability to back early-stage consumer brands across the UK and Europe. This includes a cornerstone commitment of £48m from the British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme, making JamJar the largest ECF to date.

Read more HERE

HSBC UK has launched its 2022 £15bn lending Fund

HSBC UK has launched its 2022 £15bn lending Fund for small and medium sized businesses, supporting local economies, employment opportunities and driving growth across the country

Read more HERE

Planning for Christmas

As we approach midsummer, it seems strange to be talking about Christmas, but if you haven’t already started planning for Christmas demand, you may already be late.

Planning your production in advance will be even more important this year. With supply chains stretched for various reasons, from lack of logistics to rampant cost increases forcing suppliers to reduce the amount of stock they can afford to carry, planning cannot start early enough.

Read John's blog HERE

Sustainable Scale Up Cluster Annual Report 2021-22

Over the past few years, a recurring theme in the Welsh food and drink sector has been the need for businesses to be able to scale sustainably in a way that is both affordable and manageable. The Sustainable Scale Up Cluster’s vision and mission statement supports businesses in their growth, and is aligned with the sector strategy, “A Vision for the Food & Drink Industry from 2021 – Building on our success”, launched by Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd in 2021.

We are pleased to share the Sustainable Scale Up Cluster’s first annual report which captures the main activities and themes from the first year of the cluster’s development. We have also offered some policy considerations based on the particular challenges which cluster members address as they look to scale up after the last very turbulent few years. Click here to read the report in full.

AMRC – AI in Food & Drink

AMRC Cymru are collaborating with Welsh Government and FDF Cymru to help food and drink manufacturers de-risk innovation and accelerate sustainable growth through access to advanced technologies to drive improvements, performance and quality.

Adopting Artificial Intelligence will address the following:

  • The lack of skilled workers by assisting existing workers to perform their tasks more efficiently.

  • Reducing waste by detecting anomalies on a manufacturing line or forecasting product demand to manage inventory efficiently.

  • Improve hygienic standards by monitoring shop-floor activities without the need of manual supervision.

AMRC are trying to establish a base line of understanding about AI in the food and drink sector and would be grateful if you could spare 5 minutes to complete this survey.

To learn more about what AMRC has to offer food or drinks business in Wales we have arranged a visit to their impressive facility by Broughton in Flintshire on Tuesday 28th June between 9.00am – 11.30am. Spaces on this visit are limited to 20 people on a first come first served basis.

To secure your space e-mail

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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