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How can Growing Kent & Medway help to grow your food & drink business?

Kent and Medway is home to some of the most exciting and innovative food and drink businesses in the UK and internationally. From growers of fresh fruit and vegetables, to food processors and makers, through to engineers and robotics specialists automating our supply chains. Kent businesses are leading the way in healthy and sustainable food production.

Our mission is to invest in innovative ideas to help the food and drink industry in our region continue to thrive. We support horticultural and plant-based businesses of any size; whether you simply have an idea for a new product, or run a large multinational company.

We bring together industry, scientists, technologies and entrepreneurs to stimulate innovation. We invest in new research facilities and technical expertise, business support, and  grant funding to help business to grow.

Join our network and help make our region the most dynamic and successful location in the world for horticulture and agri-technology.

We are supported by UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund.

Research and Development

If you’re looking for new crop protection options, alternative packaging, or to automate your production, we can connect you with our experts who can help solve your research challenge. Our Innovation Growth Managers will work with you to understand your business and find the right support.

We have invested in three new state-of-the-art research facilities in the region:

GreenTech Hub for Advanced Horticulture

Based at NIAB in East Malling, the Hub can help you develop sustainable crop production systems, reduce waste and use resources such as water, nutrients and light more efficiently.

Biotechnology Hub

Located at the University of Kent, it specialises in identifying and controlling crop diseases, optimising plant growth conditions, and creating new sources of protein for food products. 

Medway Food Innovation Centre

The new Centre at the University of Greenwich are leaders in prototyping new products; testing food flavour, quality and safety. They are one of the UK’s leading specialists in alternative proteins.

Business Support

Whether you have an idea for a new business, or are looking to scale-up, we have a range of support programmes to support you.

Mentoring

Access 12-hours of free one-on-one coaching! We will match you with carefully selected mentors, who have the skills and relevant industry experience to support you on a wide range of areas from supply chain development to sales.

Food and Drink Accelerator

We can help you take your idea through to market with four months intensive support. Our technical research and business team will help you understand whether the product is viable, create a business model, and find ways for you to fund the development.

Networking and events

Being a Growing Kent & Medway member means being part of an exciting network of food and drink businesses operating in our area. We can help you create new partnerships, or find new suppliers and customers.

Grants and funding

Investing £5m in research and development for innovation in Kent and Medway.

We provide research grants from £5,000 to £250,000 for projects that support sustainable food and drink production. Whether you want to trial new technology, validate your data or test new products.

Collaborative R&D Grants

Apply for technical grants worth up to £250,000.

Partner with a Kent-based research organisation for our large-scale grant funding. £1m awarded to six local businesses so far.

Business Innovation Vouchers

Take advantage of 75% funding towards research projects costing up to £20,000.

Use the vouchers to fund small trials, access cutting-edge research equipment or consultation with a scientific expert.

Become a member

Joining our network is free.

Our business and technical support is tailored to horticultural, and plant-based, food and drink businesses based in Kent and Medway. We welcome;

  • Growers / Producers / Farmers
  • Fresh produce/food processors
  • Food & drink manufacturers and wholesalers
  • Horticultural suppliers
  • Agri-tech businesses
  • Enabling technologies (IoT, sensors, blockchain, robotics)
  • Data management
  • Packaging
  • Fresh produce storage & logistics
  • Importers and exporters
  • Find out how we can help your business grow

    Parag Acharya

    Get in touch and tell us about your business. One of our Innovation Growth Managers will find you the right tailored support.

    1/3

    Parag Acharya
  • Find out how we can help your business grow

    Sophie Packer

    Get in touch and tell us about your business. One of our Innovation Growth Managers will find you the right tailored support.

    2/3

    Sophie Packer
  • Find out how we can help your business grow

    Robert Saville

    Get in touch and tell us about your business. One of our Innovation Growth Managers will find you the right tailored support.

    3/3

    Robert Saville

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