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Are you a local food and drink producer who has not engaged in retail trade before?

Organisers of eat:Festivals, which take place across Somerset, are offering support to new businesses to enable them to make their first steps into trading. The Bursary, sponsored by Thatchers Cider, aims to encourage business start-ups to consider festival trading and an entrepreneurial spirit in Somerset. The producers to benefit from a free pitch at a festival and there is support from the organisers throughout the year.

Sarah Milner Simonds, from the festival told us

"We want local businesses to benefit from the festival. By partnering with Thatchers Cider we are able to offer a chance for new businesses to make their first steps into trading. We recognise we have an opportunity to assist in developing the skills, abilities and knowledge of all food and drink producers."

Bev Milner Simonds, joint festival director said:

"The scheme is designed to encourage business start-up and self-employment within the local area.Interested businesses need to complete the simple form here and we hope that this will be seized on by new traders."

Martin Thatcher of Thatchers Cider says,

"After such a difficult few months for everyone, it's fantastic that eat:Festivals are planning their return to eat:Minehead in April. It will be a much-welcomed return for traders who excel in such a diverse array of local food and drink. The Bursary gives an opportunity for first time traders to introduce their produce to visitors, and we're looking forward to selecting this year's recipients with Beverley and Sarah over the coming months."

Aksana Fitzpatrick of PiQi

"We were so thrilled to receive Thatcher's Bursary for eat:Tiverton last year! We've only just started trading and couldn't have asked for better support in our community to help us get going."

George Havercroft of Haverslice Pizza

"The Bursary is a fantastic idea to help introduce small businesses into the food industry. Brand awareness, brand placement and brand presence are all instrumental parts to a successful business. This bursary offers just that. Money is tight for any small business let alone through the pandemic and this bursary makes the 'attending' decision for you. A training day on product development was also provided which was really well delivered and had some very interesting information on trends. Overall a fantastic service provided by a lovely team of people!"

Sally Orme of Bee Sweet

"BEE SWEET have enjoyed an amazing first year of trading with the eat:Festivals organisers Bev and Sarah as Thatcher bursary winners.

The financial support and brand association we've received from the Bursary was literally the launchpad our small North Somerset home kitchen start up needed , catapulting us into our first whirlwind year of busy markets, happy customers, positive feedback and yes queues of customers! The association and financial support from Thatchers Cider gave us the vital first step up and the confidence that we needed to bring our kitchen confectionary to market! We are now fully booked and in our second year of trading and are very grateful to Thatchers Cider and eat:Festivals for awarding us the bursary and fantastic door opening opportunities that the bursary enabled."

To apply for a bursary complete the regular application forms at this link and complete the field for how long you have been trading.

Any queries, drop an email to


eat:Festivals are grown from the land around us. They bring the very best West Country food & drink producers and artisans together at festivals in town centres across Somerset, Devon, Dorset, South Glos & Bristol.Award winning locally focused events held in:

  • Wellington + Taunton + Tavistock + Minehead + Bedminster
  • Burnham-on-Sea + Chipping Sodbury + Lyme Regis+ Nailsea
  • Portishead + Weston-super-Mare + Bideford + Clevedon + Yeovil
  • Axminster + Totnes + Honiton + Dawlish + Tiverton + Teignmouth

For more information and to find dates and venues for 2024 click this link.

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