University Enterprise Zone Fund Programme

Supporting Growth for over 60 Food and Drink Sector Businesses

This programme is fully subscribed and is now closed to any new applications.

This University Enterprise Zone (UEZ) Fund programme, delivered by the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM), is supporting the incubation and growth of over 60 sector businesses, providing scientific and technical support from the University of Lincoln and partners. This includes knowledge sharing and peer support from flagship food manufacturing businesses to aid success and potential for transition to the Peppermint Park Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ).

NCFM is a specialist facility providing training, research, and project consultancy for the food and drink industry, and has sector specialists and equipment to help businesses with innovative growth and transformation projects including; Process and Manufacturing Trials, Research and Innovation, Analysis and Testing, Product Development, Food Safety and Quality Support; and a wide range of training provision and generic business support.

Research England

This UEZ Fund programme is funded by Research England, which is part of UK Research and Innovation.

South Lincolnshire Food Enterprise Zone – Peppermint Park

The Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ) aims to provide business space and create job opportunities for existing and start-up small and medium sized businesses in the agri-food sector, with a focus on food and drink manufacturing. The first stage of the development will be the University of Lincoln’s Centre of Excellence in Agri-Food Technology which will provide innovative support services, research, skills, and knowledge transfer for agri-food sector businesses. The FEZ is a partnership project by Lincolnshire County Council, South Holland District Council, Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and the University of Lincoln.

Technical and Scientific Support for Innovation

Businesses on the programme are taking up 3-5 days of technical services and consultancy support provided by NCFM’s team of experts including researching and trialling of new and improved products, new technologies, manufacturing processes, packaging, consumer insights, sustainability, and related consultancy.

Specialist Facilities and Equipment

Opportunities exist for businesses to enhance productivity, products, and services through the utilisation of technical equipment at NCFM including a test kitchen, sensory suite, food laboratories, a specialist food factory, and a wide range of equipment for trials. There are also facilities for equipment demonstration along with access to demonstration events showcasing the latest technologies.


Training provides the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge in sector relevant sessions such as food safety, HACCP, health and safety, and much more, plus, a range of collaborative business-focused topics to meet specific needs such as financial management, business continuity, and cyber security. Masterclasses are also available to build knowledge of new technologies, innovation, collaboration, and peer learning.

Business Support

All programme businesses have taken advantage of a structured business review to establish needs for a wide range of growth solutions including mentoring, training, product and process development; plus advice and information on generic business issues including financial management, marketing, access to funding, and staff development.

UEZ Fund Programme Contacts for Programme Members:

National Centre for Food Manufacturing: 01406 493000.

UEZ Fund Programme Manager – David Thorpe: 07866 137947.


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