As impassioned advocates for a more sustainable, self-sufficient food supply system, we feel lucky to be given the opportunity to unearth some incredible developments through ‘tech for good’ which will have far-reaching benefits for people and ultimately, the planet. So to have our efforts recognised by others really is the icing on the cake and makes us feel that we are heading on the right path.
Last week we were named as ‘Small Business of the Year’ at the East Midlands Business Masters Awards (organised by The Business Desk), before swiftly bagging ‘The Most Innovative Business Idea of the Year’ accolade at The British Business Awards.
We are bowled over, not least because the past couple of years have been a non-stop hive of activity – as well as a sizeable measure of blood, sweat and tears thrown in – here at LST HQ, to plant ourselves firmly (no pun intended) in the mix as a key player in the industry and the future of food. We’re chuffed with the national nod and winning an award on home turf is no easy task, despite a talented, committed team. The East Midlands has become a major hotspot for investment, innovation and growth thanks to its central location and accessibility. We’re seeing this with collaborative food manufacturing hub SmartParc, whose new site in Derby aims ‘to build on the UK’s engineering, manufacturing and food heritage to create a sustainable food supply chain which is the most advanced in the world’. Investment in smaller businesses across the region is also on the rise, with SMEs in the East Midlands securing £154m of investment across 50 deals in 2021, a 92 per cent increase on 2020. We’re really encouraged by the findings which shows that tech is leading the way, with the sector attracting the largest amount of investment in the East Midlands at £35.2m, up by 188% from £12.2m in 2019.
Economically, while there’s a bumpy road ahead for the UK and the world at large, there is plenty to be excited about with tech and more specifically, in the agricultural sector. In fact, some of the issues we’re facing right now lend themselves to a food supply chain which, let’s face it, has been thrown into chaos. This spurs us on even more to deliver a viable solution to end the food crisis and increase national food security, because everyone should have access to nutritious, delicious, fresh food via a sustainable, reliable and self-sufficient system.
The key challenge will be in making that fundamental shift in the perception and overall infrastructure of our food system. How do we do this? The main factor is more funding. While the government launched its £22bn Innovation Strategy in 2021 to make the UK the world’s most innovative nation by 2035, as well as The Farming Transformation Fund Improving Farm Productivity Grant earlier this year, it’s vital that more investment is pumped into the industry. What’s even more vital is that the sector isn’t overlooked as 2022’s spending comes under ever more scrutiny, and that we are one step closer to that switch happening which will revolutionise the way we grow food.