Bristol-based philanthropic project, The Seed Fund will be bringing its network of industry mentors to Speciality & Fine Food Fair for the first time this year, to hear pitches from a host of fledgling food and drink start-ups.

Taking place on the Food for Thought Stage from 3:30pm-4:15pm each day during the show, which runs from Sunday 2 to Tuesday 4 September, the ‘The Seed Fund Presents: Start-Up Spotlight’ will see ‘Dragon’s Den’ style presentations from nine intrepid entrepreneurs. The ultimate winner will be announced on the final day, receiving a free stand at Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2019, as well as a range of business support tools.

Chaired by The Seed Fund’s founder, Jayne Noblet, the panel will feature food and drink heavyweights including Renée Elliott, founder of Planet Organic, Paul Hargreaves from Cotswold Fayre, Rude Health’s Camilla Barnard and David Webb from branding and marketing consultancy, The Collaborators. Among those preparing to face the panel will be Sophie Wood from Barmies, who reached The Seed Fund’s Final Four in 2017 with her bar snacks made from beer barm, and three of this year’s Seed Fund Academy members; Rathlee Distilling Company, Norty Puds and Made for Drink.

Offering a rare opportunity to see The Seed Fund’s hands-on business support in action, the ‘Start-Up Spotlight’ sessions will provide vital presentation and pitching experience for these future stars of food and drink, along with valuable feedback from respected industry mentors. Visitors to Speciality & Fine Food Fair will also have the chance to meet a number of Seed Fund Academy members, old and new, on Stands 2882-2887, as ‘Seed Street’ makes its first appearance at the exhibition, while The Seed Fund team will be found on Stand 2880.

Just as the ‘Start-Up Spotlight’ sessions get underway, Sunday 2 September will also witness the grand finale of The Seed Fund 2018, when this year’s Seed Fund Academy Champion is announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner, held at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel, London. Following an intensive summer programme of seminars, workshops and one-on-one sessions, the Final Four will be revealed before one eventual winner is awarded The Seed Fund’s annual prize, receiving a further year of business support estimated to be worth over £100,000.

The Seed Fund

Established in 2013, The Seed Fund is an entirely philanthropic project supported by branding and marketing consultancy, The Collaborators, and Great Taste, the world’s most coveted food awards, set up to help fledgling food and drink businesses to grow and flourish. Each year, 12 ambitious start-ups from across the UK are enrolled into The Seed Academy, an intensive programme run over the summer months and hosted by hand-picked industry experts, including Renée Elliott, founder of Planet Organic, John and Tortie Farrand from the Guild of Fine Food, Guy Tullberg from Tracklements and Rude’s Health’s Camilla Barnard.

Offering an insight into all areas of business, from brand design and marketing to distribution and finance, Academy members benefit from invaluable advice and support, before pitching for The Seed Fund’s annual prize. The winner is selected by The Seed Fund’s panel of mentors and receives a further year of business support, brand development and on-going guidance from industry experts, a prize estimated to be worth over £100,000.

Previous winners include:

2017: FIREPOT by Outdoorfood

2016: Adam’s Chocolate

2015: Yuyo – Yerba Mate beverages

For more information about The Seed Fund, visit