Seafood firm backs business support

Karen MacDonald of Alba Seafood, Kilmore.

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A Kilmore seafood company is among the first to sign up to a new training initiative.

Alba Seafood, run by Willie, Karen and Lindsay MacDonald, has joined The Academy, a series of programmes being delivered by Scotland Food & Drink Partnership and training experts Levercliff Associates.

It aims to support food and drink businesses, which was hard hit by Covid 19 and Brexit, sell themselves, build their brands and thrive in a highly-competitive market.

The three training programmes – seeding growth, accelerating growth and commercial excellence – are open to food and drink businesses of all sizes and ambition.

The programmes are the first major investment from Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s recovery plan which was backed with £5 million from the Scottish Government. It will run for two and a half years and support more than 200 Scottish businesses.

Alba Seafood recently joined the ‘seeding growth’ programme which runs for 12 weeks. It is aimed at companies whose primary focus is maximising their local markets and seeking opportunities in the wider Scottish marketplace.

CASE STUDY

Karen MacDonald, of Alba Seafood, said: ‘My decision to join The Academy was based on the fact that whilst we felt we were able to provide good quality produce, running the business was an entirely different thing.

‘This last year proved to us that we needed to look very seriously at what we were doing and achieving as our business stopped in its tracks from the moment lockdown was announced.

‘The Academy and its programmes could not have come at a better time. With the support of Scotland Food & Drink, we are on our way to strengthening our business and looking at it from a completely different perspective.

‘We are looking forward to the future with confidence and enthusiasm we have never had before.’

POSITIVITY

Lucy Husband, market development and business engagement director at Scotland Food & Drink, said: ‘The Academy aims to bring a renewed sense of positivity and optimism for businesses when it comes to growing their brands.

‘It is fantastic to see so many food and drink businesses focus on their future and revisit their ambitions for growth after an extraordinarily difficult year.

‘These programmes focus on knowledge sharing, upskilling and innovating and help businesses deliver a real step-change for long-term growth.

‘While we don’t know what the future might hold, food and drink will undoubtedly  continue to be a key export and economic contributor for Scotland.’

The first cohort of the year-long commercial excellence programme is being finalised and starts next month.

To apply for future cohorts of The Academy visit www.foodanddrink.scot/the-academy/

STATISTICS 

Food and drink in Scotland employs 119,000 people with a £14bn turnover – up 36 per cent since 2007.

Overseas food and drink exports from Scotland are worth £6bn – up £570m – 11 per cent – from 2016.

Sales of Scottish food and drink brands across the UK are almost £2bn – up £500m on 2007.

93 per cent of visitors to Scotland dine out, spending almost £1 billion per year, while 81 per cent of its long-haul visitors try local food.

Seafood is sold to more than 100 countries and Scottish salmon is both the UK and Scotland’s biggest food export.

Other products Scotland produces and exports include red meat, soft fruit and potatoes.