New help for Shropshire’s agri-tech and food and drink sectors

November 15, 2023

A new project is being launched this month to help Shropshire’s flourishing agri-tech and food and drink sectors develop pioneering new ideas and boost sustainability.

Sustaining Shropshire will offer expert support to businesses across the Shropshire Council area to help them innovate, develop new technologies and grow in a way which is environmentally sustainable.

The project is being led by world-renowned Harper Adams University, near Newport, in partnership with the neighbouring Agri-Epi centre, which supports businesses developing world-leading innovation technology in the agriculture sector.

Sustaining Shropshire is being officially launched at a special event at the Regional Food Academy at Harper Adams on November 29, starting at 4pm.

Melissa Sambrook, from Sustaining Shropshire, said: “We’d love to welcome any small or medium-sized food and drink or Agri-tech business in Shropshire to the event so that they can find out more about the project and the support we may be able to offer them.

“The scheme is a follow-on from the successful AGRI project the university ran with Aston University, which played a big part in helping the sector to introduce new innovations, products and services and supported nearly 150 businesses.

“Sustaining Shropshire will pick up that role by offering one-to-one development support, staging a series of events and workshops to help bring businesses together to share knowledge and ideas and creating new networking opportunities.

“The one-to-one support will be both to help drill down into the companies involved and highlight where they can best innovate and how they can use low carbon and environmentally-responsible technologies to improve their sustainability.

“Sustaining Shropshire will promote sustainable practices in local businesses, creating a more resilient community that balances economic growth with innovation in technology and environmental stewardship.

“During the launch evening we will hear from our partner companies about the bespoke support they can provide, and from SMEs that were supported by the AGRI Project about the benefits they have seen.”

Sustaining Shropshire is aiming to support at least 100 SMEs by the end of March 2025, with at least 80 introducing a new or improved process or product into their operations.

To register for the launch event visit

The project has won funding from Shropshire Council through the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Councillor Mark Jones, cabinet member for economic growth and regeneration at Shropshire Council said: “Agri-tech and food and drink are major sectors for our county. This project’s commitment to innovation and sustainability will provide exciting opportunities for Shropshire businesses operating in those sectors. It is a terrific example of how the UK Shared Prosperity fund has been utilised to boost growth and encourage partnership working for the benefit of the county by ensuring that we have a healthy economy”.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and places, supporting local business, people and skills.

For more information, visit 

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: | email:

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: | email:

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact:

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The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact:

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