Festival support for new food businesses

THE organisers of Somerset’s award-winning eat:Festivals are inviting applications from new businesses for bursaries and development support to enable them to make their first steps into trading.

The bursaries, sponsored by Thatchers Cider, are for food and drink producers who have not engaged in business start-ups to consider festival trading. The successful producers will have a free pitch at the eat:Weston-super-Mare festival on 26th September, and other support throughout the year.

Sarah Milner Simonds, one of the founder-directors of the eat:Festivals, says: “We want local businesses to benefit from the festival. By partnering with Thatchers Cider we are able to offer a chance for new businesses to make their first steps into trading. We recognise we have an opportunity to assist in developing the skills, abilities and knowledge of all food and drink producers.”

Joint director Bev Milner Simonds says: “We know that Covid-19 is affecting every business and some people are pivoting or diversifying. We also know that there will be some new businesses just starting out. The scheme is designed to encourage business start-up and self-employment within the local area.
Interested businesses need to complete the simple form on our website www.eatfestivals.org and we hope that this will be seized on by new traders.”

Martin Thatcher of Thatchers Cider says: “After such a difficult few months for everyone, it’s fantastic that eat:Festivals are planning their return to eat:Weston in September. It will be a much-welcomed return for traders who excel in such a diverse array of local food and drink. The Thatchers Bursary gives an opportunity for first time traders to introduce their produce to visitors, and we’re looking forward to selecting this year’s recipients with Beverley and Sarah over the coming months.”

One of the 2019 bursary winners, Nikki Seymour of Bake Me Crazy, says: “We had access to expert advice on how to get the best out of the day, free publicity, as well as being able to trade for free. We love meeting customers face to face; getting feedback and discussing new orders. We had a brilliant day’s trade and the feedback was tremendous.”

Applications for the bursary need to be in before 1st August; there are 10 bursary places for the eat:Weston event. For more information visit www.eatfestivals.org

• Other eat:Festivals currently planned will be at Portishead on 8th August, Honiton Gate to Plate on 15th August, Minehead on 22nd August, Wellington on 5th September, Yeovil at Super Saturday on 19th September, Weston-super-Mare on 26th September, Minehead on 3rd October, Nailsea on 10th October, Burnham-on-Sea on 24th October, and four winter festivals in Taunton on 28th November, Burnham on 5th December, Minehead on 12th December and
Weston on 13th December.

Pictured: Thatchers Cider logo; 2019 bursary winners Bake Me Crazy; the 2019 eat:Weston festival, Orbit Photography