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The Independent Food and Drink Academy

Know-how from the Street and Indie Food sector

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The Independent Food and Drink Academy (IFDA), provides a unique service to small independent enterprises from street food traders through to established small businesses, offering advice, support and training to help their businesses grow in this dynamic sector. Developed and delivered by industry experts, the Academy is offered by Leeds Business School and supported by Leeds City Council. The Academy’s objective is to help to professionalise, sustain and grow the independent food and drink sector in the Leeds city region by providing a blend of contextualised learning and development opportunities.

Become a member today!

As a member of the Independent Food and Drink Academy you will receive many benefits to help to grow and sustain your business, including:

  • Business Networking Events : meet with likeminded individuals across the sector. 
  • Business mentoring days: we match our members with mentors to help develop business strategies.
  • Educational master classes: our workshops focus on specific issues for start-up and growth businesses, such as finance, people, operations and marketing.

Join our mailing list here 


The Leeds Food and Drink Scene

Leeds is nationally recognised for having one of the best independent restaurant, bar and café scenes in the UK and many large organisations look to Leeds for inspiration and creative new ideas.

The large number of knowledgeable 'foodie' tourists and innovative locals, combined with a thriving network of high profile media outlets in the city, generates great opportunities for creative and enthusiastic food and drink entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses in a thriving and receptive market.

Learn more about the Independent Food and Drink Academy

Re-launching the IFDA

IFDA provides a forum for small independent enterprises from street-food traders to established businesses to share knowledge, experiences and information to help the business community thrive and grow. The event on 27 March 2019  was hosted at North Brewing Co where owner Christian Townsley provided a candid and humorous assessment of some of the lessons still being learnt while running a multi-award winning, growing businesses. Ben Barker from Artemis Brew, talked passionately about responsibly sourced coffee and the challenges of managing fluctuating demand for products over time. Neil Campbell, founder of Smak! spoke enthusiastically about Polish food and his journey from street food vendor to café bistro. He challenged the myth of a simple transition from street-food to restaurant and highlighted the time, commitment and problem solving skills required to make a success of it. David Baggaley from Economic Development at Leeds City Council drew attention to the support that is currently available for local businesses, particularly for those involved in business to business markets and seeking to introduce new technology to improve productivity.

A key message emerging from the event was that the strength or innovative nature of your product will only get you so far if the services you provide fall short of customer expectations or you are unable to access the business related knowledge and skills necessary to sustain the endeavour.

People - customers, suppliers, your workforce, accountants, lawyers, specialist advisors, family and others who share your vision are a key to success.

David Devins

Leeds Business School 

Three people in discussion at event
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