CREATING A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR CORNWALL'S FOOD AND DRINK INDUSTRY
We're raising funds to make Cornwall's Food and Drink sector stronger, by establishing a joined-up CIC network to promote, educate and inspire new opportunities.
Never before has there been a more pivotal time for us to bring Cornwall's Food and Drink industry together, rebuilding from the inside out to be bigger, better and more resilient.
Croust wants to build a stronger brand for Cornish Food and Drink, encouraging and supporting Cornish businesses and individuals, so that they can produce, serve and sell their goods to more people, and in better ways than ever before.
The Top Line
Upskilling bright-eyed start-ups and reinvigorating established businesses. Helping products meet more people. Building collaborative networks and breaking down silos. Providing hands-on accredited training with industry experts. Creating new jobs and opportunities for our county. Croust CIC's offering is extensive, its impact will be game-changing and its chance to come to life is now in your hands.
How will Croust help empower Cornwall's Food and Drink Industry?
Our vision is to support the sector in every way possible – responding to the needs of the industry as and when they happen. We want to harness the energy, enthusiasm, and skills that the industry is built on, and breathe new life into every aspect of the sector.
It's ambitious, but we think that Croust can be the go-to destination for everything food and drink in the county; a CIC that people recognise and trust. A CIC that enables growth, increases sales, broadens Cornwall's culinary profile and ultimately raises standards across the board.
From the growers and producers, to the chefs and retailers, the burgeoning talent to the household names – we aim to create a joined-up network that enables good ideas to thrive, promoting partnerships, collaboration and B2B engagement.
We want to give Cornwall's Food and Drink industry a competitive edge, drawing on a curated team of industry specialists to empower the groundswell of talent set to take our industry to the next level. Forget rinse-and-repeat training that feels outdated and has lost its spark, Croust is dedicated to bringing hands-on education that leaves its mark; think culinary masterclasses with the best of the best, and insightful, relevant business mentoring that speaks to the industry's needs.
Together we want to stake Cornwall's claim as a world-leading food and drink destination, attracting talent and turning heads around the globe.
Hello... I'm Louise Brooks-Curry, the former Learning and Development Manager of Fifteen Cornwall, Cornwall Food Foundation and the Co-founder of the Experts Grow project.
Cornwall's food and drink heritage is a part of who I am. As a local butcher's daughter with dairy farmer, guesthouse owner grandparents, I've got Cornish farming, agri-food and tourism coursing through my veins. From becoming a restaurant manager at the age of 20, studying a culinary arts degree, then becoming a fully qualified food teacher and trainer, I've gained an insight into the many layers of the food and drink industry.
Over my career, I've also worked in education surrounding food manufacturing and hospitality, delivering hundreds of NVQs and apprenticeships to local food and drink businesses in Cornwall. More recently, I was engaged as a training manager, working with 500-plus employees to create mandatory and management training packages and train the trainer incentives.
Who are we?
Three former colleagues from the Cornwall Food Foundation, brought together by a passion and love for Cornish food, drink and agriculture. As a team, we're on a mission to bring about positive changes and prosperity to the sector through our collective skills, knowledge and experience.
Find out more about the amazing Directors, Consultants, Collaboration Partners and Creators poised and ready to help turn the Croust dream into a reality, here.
Cornwall Food Foundation
While working on Experts Grow we were privileged to work with some fantastic Cornish food and drink businesses, as well as some pioneering business consultants and experts. The project got off to a great start, helping food entrepreneurs and businesses experts to come together. They shared knowledge and experiences. They solved business challenges and problems. They actively sought out collaborative opportunities.
An idea was born
You could see first-hand how the business owners and managers valued the opportunity to be part of a food network. They relished the access they had to both the experts and the training needed to develop their entrepreneur skills and grow their business. Sadly in December, this all came to an abrupt end, after just six short months; leaving Cornwall post-Brexit with limited provisions in food and drink for business development, training and support.
Having dedicated ourselves to this cause, we have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to seek investment and to rally support in creating a vibrant and innovative new food and drink CIC for Cornwall.
HERE's a summary of our one-off discounted memberships. EU money is estimated to dry up by 2023! Together let's make it count for Cornwall while we still can.
50% Crowdfunder special offer
*Tin membership for micro businesses <5 employees
Read what some of our Cornish businesses have to say
Holly Harwood - Holly's Gin
"It's so important to have a network of food and drink businesses in Cornwall. As a small Cornish gin company, I have enjoyed collaborating and sharing ideas with other brands in the county. I would love to see more young entrepreneurs being as passionate about the food and drink industry as I am! We need Croust to bring us all together and showcase the incredible brands we have in Cornwall!"
Mark Rudge - Wasted Apple
"The Coronavirus Pandemic has clearly caused massive disruption to businesses and a painful human impact to tens of thousands of lives. The recovery phase will be long and difficult. Cornwall's Food and Drink industry has felt the full force of the 'Stay at Home' message, made even more severe in an area that has an economy largely based on tourism. As necessity is the mother of invention so this catastrophic event brings with it opportunities for creation, revival and growth."
"It is great to see an influential group of people bringing together the Croust initiative to help, support and enable those opportunities to be realised. It is by utilising and developing all our skills and expertise and working together that we can ensure that Cornwall's Food Industry not only recovers but expands and improves. It will build on the values of local, quality, sustainable food production and preparation that this pandemic has forced all of us to recognise as being so important to our future prosperity."
Stuart Leather - Rathlee Rum
"CROUST CIC is a way for us all to come together, to reignite the Cornish Food & Drink industry following Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve all be hugely affected by these strangely evolving times and the Community Group aims to encourage collaboration between businesses moving forward. Louise Brooks-Curry spearheaded the Cornish Cocktails collaboration movement, in conjunction with Experts Grow, and we have been both delighted and proud to be involved. Louise is someone who genuinely cares about local businesses and wants to help. We were the first fully-licensed rum distillery in the South West, our passion and enthusiasm has always kept us going but the support of people like Louise is absolutely imperative for a small family-owned company such as Rathlee. We really look forward to working with Louise and the team again. Let’s do this!"
So why now?
Yes, the current financial climate is uncertain, the food and drink industry in Cornwall is deeply shaken and the future looks unsure. But now, more than ever, Croust's offering is vital. Together, as one sector united, we can use our skills, expertise and networks to mobilise. We can share our knowledge, engage our networks and use every skill in our arsenal to enable the food and drink industry not only to get back up and running, but to thrive.
Here's why backing our project now is so relevant:
- The F&D industry, in particular, has been deeply affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, and will need extensive help to repair and rebuild. We're well placed to help.
- Relevant EU funding is available, but there's limited support services available to help access them for the food and drink sector. Our knowledge will help access it.
- The food and drink supply chain is the biggest employer in Cornwall, with amongst the lowest productivity rates (demonstrating the impact this project is likely to have on the overall economy of Cornwall).
- Cornwall is one of the 17 Food Enterprise Zones, with £3.5 million going into creating a new food and drink hub for Cornwall.
- Approximately 12,000 businesses with a need to increase productivity in the sector. That's a lot of people to bring together and learn from.
- The potential to harness £1million in ESF funding for the development of industry skills until 2023. If used wisely this could change the landscape of Cornwall for years to come.
- An opportunity to access additional government support.
- Clear evidence that the sector is in decline, with larger companies selling out, now's the time to act.
- A negative perception of the industry, associated with low paid workforce, long, unsociable working hours and poor working conditions. We can help turn this around.
- Clear skills shortages and a lack of workers in the sector, unemployment at an all-time low and reduced EU workers.
- Opportunity to inject passion back into the sector, inspire young entrepreneurs and create career pathways into employment.
- Reduce in-county competition - instead working together with the focus on export, distribution, tourism, and brand Cornwall as a whole.
- Clear lack of e-commerce and opportunities to purchase Cornish food and drink out of the county.
- Difficulties/expensive export and distribution that can be overcome by working in partnership.
- No longer a skills provision in Cornwall for food and drink at entry-level.
- Great time to maximise on tourism opportunities and UK stay vacations (coming out of the COVID-19 crisis).
- Large volume of micro-businesses in the county requiring business support and development.
- UK love of Cornwall. Over 10 million people nationwide have positive associations or heritage relating to this special place.
How will it operate?
Alongside funding, grants and investment, Croust will provide a full membership offering, with a variety of benefits for each level. As an incentive for backing this Crowdfunder, we're offering each membership at half-price. We appreciate that money is tight for businesses in the current climate, but we truly believe that this is an investment in the future of your business, and the food and drink industry as a whole.
To get more of a taste for how our CIC will provide a full sector support service, please take a look at these successful food and drink organisations from around the UK:
Scotland Food and Drink https://foodanddrink.scot
Dorset Food and Drink CIC https://www.dorsetfoodanddrink.org
Wales Food and Drink https://businesswales.gov.wales/foodanddrink
How do we plan to launch?
And finally, why do we need to raise so much?
ESF will match-fund 80% of the money raised for this project until 2023. This means, with your help, we can make this project a reality.
Launching our CIC will need a creative team of publishers, marketers and digital experts, as well as an administrator and three directors; made up of funding, education, farming, food and drink experts. All other expertise will be outsourced according to the requirements and needs of our businesses, selecting only the best hand-selected industry experts.
As a CIC ready to serve, we'll have the in-house knowledge, contacts, partners and dedication to access additional funding or grants to support our members, so we can work together to help each other grow.
We have the skills; we have the network, now we just need you to help make it a reality.
SUPPORT CROUST CIC, SO THAT CORNWALL'S FOOD AND DRINK FUTURE IS BRIGHTER AND TASTES EVEN BETTER.
To follow Croust's journey go to our website https://croust.co.uk.