The Sheffield Food Festival returns this month and this year there will be a programme of talks for hospitality industry professionals and entrepreneurs…

Artisan bakeries, coffee houses, small batch producers, street food pop-ups – Sheffield has a thriving independent food and drink scene, with a huge growth in new ventures over recent years all across the city.

On Saturday 26 May, Sheffield Food Festival will host a one-day programme of talks, discussions, mentoring and advice aimed at food and drink entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey, from embryonic ideas to established businesses.

The Food Futures programme will take place in the Town Hall and feature a host of experienced industry professionals sharing their experience and knowledge, providing opportunities for participants to discuss their own ideas and challenges.

Talks include:

  • James Ellerby, Senior Lecturer in Hospitality Management at Sheffield Hallam University sharing the findings of his research which identifies the core values shared by the restaurateurs who achieve and maintain long term success
  • Ophelie Robertson, Research Fellow for the Sheffield Innovation Programme, on how SMEs can access research and technical expertise through the Innovation Programme to help them develop their products
  • Jay Bhayani, Managing Director of Bhayani Law (and unLTD columnist) sharing her top five most common employment and HR pitfalls for hospitality companies and how to avoid them
  • Brendan Dyson from the NMTF, a national trade association for market traders and mobile caterers, on how to get started trading on markets, festivals, and fairs.

Brendan said: I have visited markets, festivals, and fairs all over the UK and met thousands of traders and caterers. In my role, I’m responsible for supporting members on any matter that affects their business. 

“I’m passionate about how the next generation of traders are embracing markets and taking this tradition forward. Food Futures is an excellent opportunity for young entrepreneurs to find out why markets, festivals, and fairs are the perfect launchpad for their food business.”

The keynote session will be The Entrepreneurial Recipe: How to get started in the Food Business, a panel discussion brought together by Darren Chouings, Start-up Business Coach with University of Sheffield Enterprise.

Darren said: “Starting any business can be a daunting thing and working in the food industry brings its own set of challenges. When faced with the statistics that nine-out-of-ten new food and drink businesses fail, it is vital that these start-ups have the right support around them and know where to turn when they need guidance.”

The session showcases some of the food start-ups the University is currently working with, alongside other experts in the field. The discussion will focus on why panel members chose this industry, what it drives them and their success, as well as sharing some of the mistakes that were made along the way and the strategies they employed to get back on track with opportunity for Q&A at the end.

Hear from: 

Ted Ki Tae Kim (Diversitea),

William Chew (Mak Tok),

Jerome Jacobs (Phrooti),

Natalia Welch (Pura Panela),

Justin Rowntree (SweetSpot Hospitality Consultancy)

Yvonne O’ Donovan (The School of Artisan Food).

The latter part of the day will be hosted by Launchpad Mentoring and run as a ‘world cafe’ style session with many of the days speakers available to discuss real life issues, challenges and ideas. You can also find out more about the Launchpad Mentoring programme, a free service offered by Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, which links businesses under two years old with experienced entrepreneurs who can share their experience and insights and act as a sounding board.

Irshad Akbar, Business Mentoring Manager at Launchpad, said: “Launching a business can be a daunting time for new entrepreneurs, who often find themselves feeling isolated and unsure where to get the right advice to develop their business ideas. Mentoring provides the opportunity to collaborate, share knowledge and experience and perhaps most importantly of all, learn from individuals who once stood in their shoes.”

Register your interest for this FREE programme here.