View Full Version : Seafox nets £250,000 in fishing grants after first year in business

Davie Tait
2nd July 2012, 15:36
http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/17856/Seafox_nets__A3250,000_in_fishing_grants_after_fir st_year_in_business.html

SEAFOX, the new seafood business support organisation, is celebrating its first year of operation with success on several fronts.

In less than 12 months it has managed to secure European funding totalling almost £250,000 for seafood companies in the Grimsby, that not only safeguarded jobs, but has led to new investment worth more than £1-million.

Seafox is currently working on the sale of three local fish companies and a number of projects to reduce the cost of transporting fish into Grimsby, now recognised as Europe’s leading seafood processing centre.

Seafox was launched by local businessman Simon Dwyer, who already had several years in the sea transport industry which included bringing more than half the fresh fish Iceland and the Faroe Islands was shipping to the Humber.

The aim was to help companies – and not just those in seafood – access public funding to help them grow and develop new products and service – not an easy task in the current era of austerity.

For this he brought in Liz Baghurst, who had considerable experience through her former local government job.

Within a few weeks this meeting of minds was already starting to show through in positive results.

Simon said: “I am very happy with the progress we have made so far, but we are where we expected to be at this time.”

Accessing funding has sometimes been a problem for fish companies, particularly following the demise of the regional development agencies such as Yorkshire Forward.

But often businesses are in the dark about just what grants are available. Liz said: “There has been a lack of awareness in some areas. I have been working closely with the seafood sector here in Grimsby and so far we have managed to secure grants worth around £250,000 from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) alone.

“This money is not only helping to safeguard jobs, but is allowing firms to expand and develop new ideas.”

She added: “If any business is thinking of investment – and it doesn’t have to be in seafood – then I suggest they should come and speak to us first.”

Liz also pointed out that funding for food-related research and development and new processes was also available from groups like the UK Technology Strategies Board.

Last year the North Atlantic Seafood Forum AS appointed Simon Dwyer in his Seafox role as the UK and Ireland to promote the 2012 North Atlantic Seafood Forum in Norway.

He is set to get the same role for the 2013 event which will be held next March, which is expected to attract 500 executive from over 300 leading seafood companies around the world.

But currently he is working to help broker the successful sale of three Grimsby area seafood businesses and on plans to make it cheaper to bring fish into the Humber.

He said: “Everyone is aware today that margins so helping to keep down or reduce inbound transport and logistics costs is very important.

“It is all about bringing fish from A to B, whether it is Norway, Iceland, China, Alaska or the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada. We are having a lot of success on cost savings on routes into the Humber from all of these countries."

He is also working on plans to bring more fresh fish directly from Northern Norway to the Humber and, hopefully, the Grimsby market. Currently the fish lorries leave Norway and make their way to Grimsby via Calais - a long and expensive journey. He now wants them to cut the distance and time by coming cross the North Sea to the Humber from Swedish ports such as Gothenburg.

Simon added: "Liz and I set out to be both pro-active and reactive in our workings with the seafood industry. If someone wants a meeting within an hour or so then we can be there. It has been a good 12 months, but we have plans to move forward and develop the business."

He added: "Our goal is to create value for our clients through our creative thinking, professionalism and specialist expertise.”

Liz said she was now working with the health and seafood sectors on various projects.

Simon Dwyer is also chairman of the North East Lincolnshire Trade Corridor. Although separate from Seafox, the work is inter-related. He has helped co-ordinate a fishing trade mission to Iceland and organised a very successful Norway Seafood summit in Grimsby last year.

For further information contact www.seafox.no