Friday, July 1, 2022

Boston Town businesses to receive fully-funded support

Businesses based in Boston Town can now benefit from fully-funded support and training to help them to prosper and grow. The Centre for Food and Fresh Produce Logistics has been set up by the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) in association with Boston College.

Funded through the Boston Town Deal this forms one of the eight projects within an overall funding package of £21.9 million to Boston provided through the Town Deal Initiative by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The funding is aimed at businesses in: Agri-Food Technologies, Port & Logistics, Manufacturing, Engineering & Packaging, Equipment & Technical Services plus Food Service including Retailers and Restaurants.

The delivery partners provide an outstanding resource base and work in collaboration with Boston businesses to identify growth needs and provide suitable solutions. The ambition is to enable businesses to grow through adoption of innovation, digital technologies, scientific research, training and development of workforce, products and process development plus business advice. There is also a Capital Grant element to help towards equipment purchases.

Benefits are tailored to suit the needs of the business and employees with a focus on:

Business Support to Enhance Productivity, Profitability and Job Creation
Access to technical services and consultancy provided by a dedicated team of experts at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM), Boston College, Lincoln Institute of Agri-Food Technology and University of Lincoln College of Science. Project examples include – Digitalisation, Automation, Product Trials and New Product Development, Processes, Packaging, Robotics, Finance, Marketing, Crop Storage, Scientific Research and General Business Consultancy.

Knowledge Transfer and Networking
Programme members benefit from business networking and knowledge sharing activities such as – Events, Equipment Demonstrations, Masterclasses and Signposting to other sources of relevant support.

Workforce Development through enhancement of Skills and Knowledge
Boston College provides the lead for the development and delivery of training programmes to match the growth needs of programme businesses. Topics aim to upskill the workforce and enhance the effectiveness of business leadership and management. Sector activities will also campaign for career awareness, create a talent pipeline and encourage new entrants. Some courses will be delivered via distance learning and course costs will be covered by the programme, thus avoiding the main barriers to workforce development.

Capital Grants
Potential for Capital Grant funding contribution towards the purchase of equipment identified as required to meet project needs established during programme engagement. Up to 50% of purchase cost to a maximum of £5000 could be available, subject to application and panel approval.

Councillor Paul Skinner, leader of Boston Borough Council, said: “This new opportunity which focuses on skills development for the food chain and technology sector is something we have been looking forward to for many months now. The Centre for Food and Fresh Produce Logistics forms part of the wider South Lincolnshire food knowledge cluster centred on the South Lincolnshire Food Enterprise Zone in Holbeach. Getting this project underway by enhancing and developing our younger generations education is key to future successes.”

Chair of the Boston Town Deal Board, Neil Kempster, said: “I am delighted to see the official launch of the Centre for Food & Fresh Produce Logistics which is a key component within the portfolio of projects being supported through the funding from the Boston Town Deal.

“It targets some of the key sectors of the local economy providing support and access to funding and resources that will enable local businesses to prosper, as well as helping to educate our younger generations of the significant opportunities available to them in this specialist and diverse environment. I would encourage as many local businesses as possible to take advantage of this initiative which I believe will make a real difference to the local economy.”

Dean of The University of Lincoln Holbeach Campus and head of NCFM professor Val Braybrooks MBE said: “The new Centre for Food and Fresh Produce Logistics will enable Boston Town to play a pivotal role in achieving the Local Enterprise Partnerships UK Food Valley ambitions to grow and promote our world class food sector as a major talent and investment hub.

“It will help to drive business partnered enterprise, innovation, and research, with an aligned skills offer to enhance productivity and provide access to high quality career opportunities for Boston’s agri-food sector and community.”

Principal & CEO of Boston College, Claire Foster, said: “We are delighted to be associated with this Boston-focussed project to support our food and logistics sector. Never before has it been more important for colleges, universities and businesses to combine our efforts for innovative collaborations, mutual support and benefit, increasing productivity for the shared prosperity of all. We look forward to being integral to the success of our local industries, providing skills and employment opportunities for now and the future.”

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