THRIVE initiative helps graduates enter food industry

By press office

A dynamic initiative, which will equip budding entrepreneurs for success in Scotland’s food & drink industry, is launching for a second year. Drawing on expertise from two Scottish academic institutions, the THRIVE programme will provide outstanding opportunities for young food & drink and rural SMEs, students, and graduates, while strengthening sustainable growth in Scotland’s food & drink and rural sector.  

The programme is the result of a collaboration between Queen Margaret University and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). THRIVE is an ambitious initiative which will provide food & drink and rural micro-SMEs, students and graduates with the specialist knowledge required to support their successful entry into the sector. The intensive two-day programme will equip new graduates, as well as people already working in food-associated SMEs, with essential sessions run by food industry experts that will support the early stages of transition into, or within, the broader industry.  

The programme provides expert advice to people who may already be working in food & drink manufacturing, hospitality, diversified agriculture or food or farm shops; as well as students and graduates who have ambitions to develop as entrepreneurs or even just an idea in the making! The aim is to ensure participants have the understanding, knowledge and skills needed to navigate the complexities of the industry near the start of their career journey, which in turn helps create sustainable businesses and jobs within this important and developing sector. 

THRIVE’s programme leaders are delighted to receive applications from students, alumni and current embryonic micro/SME food & drink and rural businesses. The programme, which is free for participants, will run on 5th and 12th November, and will cover essential business skills and helpful knowledge to support a new business idea – whether a food product or service, or new rural enterprise. The packed programme will cover everything from product development, planning, marketing and pitching to nutrition, finding a copacker and food legislation, as well as access to general business support information.  

"THRIVE provides budding entrepreneurs with the opportunity to refresh or learn new business skills, to expand their network and get feedback on their ideas. Delegates from THRIVE 2021 told us they found the two days ‘invaluable’, ‘transformative’ and ‘packed full of great advice’.  We look forward to meeting new entrepreneurs this November and to supporting growth in this vital sector."
Ceri Ritchie, Head of Food & Enterprise at SAC Consulting - part of SRUC
"Starting a food & drink business can be a bit daunting, and this programme is designed to help with practical, effective and essential sessions both online and in person from experts in this area who have worked with many start-ups and established companies."
Catriona Liddle, Head of the Scottish Centre for Food Development & Innovation at Queen Margaret University

At the end of the programme, participants will also have the opportunity to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges from the food & drink industry and a chance to win prizes for the best pitch.  

Places for THRIVE are limited, so interested students, graduates and SMEs, should register using the online application form as soon as possible to secure their free place on the programme. Participants can choose to attend one or both of the training days, with the first focusing on business skills and the second having a more practical focus. A detailed programme will be provided on application. Applications close on 20th October.  

For further information on the THRIVE programme email; or 

Notes to Editor

For further media information, contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager, Queen Margaret University, E:; M: 07711 011239 and copy to E: 

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