Agritech funding and mentoring now available

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A new round of funding and mentoring is available to talented executives working within small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food supply chain as Eden Search launches its second Emerging Leaders programme.

To help future SME leaders fast track their leadership skills, Eden Search is making a training budget of up to £3000 available to one aspiring executive working for an SME in either agritech, food manufacturing or fresh food. The money can be used to fund a course, research project or work experience placement that will help unlock the individual’s potential and broaden their horizon. In addition, the winner will receive up to four hour-long mentoring sessions with sector specialists (founders, CEOs and senior leaders) over the course of a 12-month period. Mentoring will also be available to one other applicant.

Explaining more about the launch of the 2024 Emerging Leaders programme, Richard Macdonald, Non-Executive Director of Eden Search, said: “The last few years have been tough for companies in agri-food.

Richard Macdonald, Non-Executive Director of Eden Search

Post-Brexit and COVID, the industry has been hit with ingredient shortages, labour issues and inflation. SMEs have borne the brunt of this. This is incredibly concerning given they are the backbone of the sector. In UK food manufacturing alone, SMEs account for 22% of turnover and 33% of employment. Yet many don’t have structured training and development programmes in place or, if they do, they’ve been impacted by recent macro-economic pressures.

“Emerging Leaders is designed to help bridge this gap – giving the most talented individuals in the sector the chance to apply for funding and mentoring that will help them achieve their professional and personal goals and keep SMEs innovating and leading the way.”

Eden launched its inaugural Emerging Leaders campaign in 2023, providing training and mentoring to three talented industry executives, including Dr Ruth Bastow, Innovation Director for CHAP.

Commenting on how her experience of the programme, Dr Ruth Bastow, said: “Being part of the inaugural Emerging Leaders initiative was fantastic. It enabled me to complete a MIT course on Leadership & Innovation. It also gave me access to an inspiring, supportive mentor. Working in a small business can be intense. There’s not much time to stop and think about training and development. Emerging Leaders helped me discover more about myself. With a clearer understanding of my motivations and strengths, I can make better use of my skills to drive the company forward. I’d urge anyone looking to further their career to apply to this programme.”

The Emerging Leaders programme is open to anyone with five or more years’ experience working within an SME (<£15m turnover) in food manufacturing, fresh food or agritech in the UK or internationally. Individuals must be able to demonstrate experience in a senior management position and have a clear view of the external support they require to continue their career path into leadership / board positions. Applicants need to send a copy of their CV and write a 500-word summary answering the following key questions:

What are the challenges you would like to solve within your industry?

What training / development would you need to achieve this?

What difference will this training make to you and the industry, long-term?

Applicants need to confirm the support of their company and provide details of a ‘sponsor’ (e.g., their line manager) when they make their application. The deadline for applications is 23:59 on 19th November 2023. Applications should be emailed to: For further information including all terms and conditions, go to:

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