Understanding Surrey’s Agri-Tech Food and Drink sector
Surrey County Council, Invest in Surrey, Campden BRI, Royal Holloway University of London and Business South held a round table discussion for the region’s AgriTech/Food and Drink sector at Royal Holloway University of London, to better understanding the challenges, opportunities and barriers to success.
- Sector representatives readily join the debate on obesity and the challenge to feed the nation.
- The sector needs new way to access support for start-ups and innovation. Food production and science have to work hand in hand.
- There’s a concern that the sector will be unable to attract the next generation of workers.
- Brexit is both causing concern over access to labour (at the minimum wage) and uncertainty over subsidies.
The round table was made up of a range of representatives from the cluster including business owners, trade groups, supporters and intermediaries.
Round Table co-chairman Jeremy Davies Director of Knowledge Management, Campden BRI commented. ‘This was a very useful meeting to start the process of looking at how we can support the food and drink sector in the region. It is crucial that we work together to coordinate what is already a highly regarded network of support services, in order that the combined knowledge and experience can help unlock the potential in the region, address the productivity challenges and support government’s ambition as expressed in the Industrial Strategy green paper. ‘
Fellow co-chairman Mark Pearson, Director of Business Growth for Surrey County Council said ‘We have taken on board the voice of those involved and with this knowledge our next step is to create plans to ensure this important local cluster is helped and supported in the future’.
On behalf of Royal Holloway University of London, Professor Paul Hogg Vice Principal Research and Enterprise commented, ‘As the government is developing an industrial strategy to address long-term challenges to the UK economy, it is essential that universities work closely with regional partners, including our LEP, Enterprise M3, to maximise the economic impact of our regional research, knowledge and skills base. As part of our contribution to this crucial process, Royal Holloway was very pleased to host this event’
Reviewing the round table, Andy Swift, Surrey Area Director at Business South said ‘We were delighted to have worked in partnership with key contributors to the sector and help shape this event particularly as the objectives perfectly fit with our own ambitions to promote the Place, our People and Prosperity. We look forward to continuing our work with the partners and keeping round table participants updated on progress.’