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Invest in small food firms or risk losing income

By Laurence Gibbons+

11-Apr-2014
Last updated the 11-Apr-2014 at 11:51 GMT

Big food and drink manufacturers should invest in small firms to protect their income streams and benefit from injecting an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit into their businesses.

That’s the view of Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, in this exclusive video for FoodManufacture.co.uk. Enterprise Nation was founded in 2005 by Jones with the aim of creating an inspirational environment for business owners and entrepreneurs to work together. It also campaigns on behalf of small businesses in the UK.

“There are lots of benefits for big businesses,” she claimed. “[These are] increased sales from making the products themselves, also increased innovation in the supply chain and a little bit more entrepreneurial energy in the company itself.

“What we heard from big businesses – such as Unilever – was if they don’t invest with small businesses, these companies may take future income streams from [them]. Small companies who are very bright, very ambitious, very innovative are out to get customers.”

She added that small businesses have a ‘story’ and ‘personality’ that connects with consumers, which many big firms are lacking.

Back British

Watch this video to find out why Jones believed small food firms could help retailers and manufacturers in their ambition to back British produce.

Last month, Enterprise Nation held the first of its Business Exchange events – the Food Exchange – which encouraged collaboration between big and small businesses to help them see the benefits of partnerships.

Heinz, Danone, Unilever, Sainsbury, Waitrose and Ocado were just some of the firms helping small and start-up businesses to find a way to retail and upsize their companies.

Food Exchange, which took place at The Bakery in Dalston, London on March 26 2014, also advised small firms on the many types of funding available to help grow their businesses.

The event, initially a one-off, was so popular there are now plans in place for another one later in the year.

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