Independent Food & Drink Academy (IFDA)

An innovative new business service will be officially launched on April 25th and has been hailed the first of its kind in the country

An innovative new business service will be officially launched on April 25th and has been hailed the first of its kind in the country. The academy is set to professionalise, sustain and grow the independent food and drink sector in the Leeds city region and is a joint venture being run by Leeds Beckett University and Leeds City Council (LCC), and supported by Leeds Business Improvement District (BID). The academy will also provide advice, support and training to small independent enterprises, from street food traders to established small businesses throughout Leeds.

In the words of Andrew Cooper, LeedsBID Chief Executive, “ Independent food and drink is a key ingredient in the city’s culinary offer and is vital in driving a unique food offering all year round, putting Leeds firmly on the national food map. It is one of the city’s most rapidly growing and commercially vibrant leisure sectors and Leeds BID, in collaboration with Leeds Beckett and LCC, is pleased to support this new initiative for the city, building strength and reputation of the sector further and continuing to raise the profile of Leeds as a centre of outstanding cuisine nationally and internationally.”

Guy Lincoln, Senior Lecturer in the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality at Leeds Beckett, and one of the minds behind the Academy, explained: “The number and variety of businesses providing food and drink in Leeds is growing at a fast rate, and the level of competition increases along with it. In recognition of this, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds City Council and Leeds BID have launched the Independent Food and Drink Academy as a way to provide effective and accessible business support. A community in which to share practical advice and facilitate conversation.

“By bringing together a fantastic network of industry experts and experienced operators, our aim is to share our knowledge and understanding of the food and drink sectors and to support business owners in establishing and growing their businesses to reach their full potential. We hope to create a blueprint for similar national schemes.”

For £100 membership fee per year, Academy members will have access to a wide range of significant benefits provided by both Leeds Beckett University and LCC, including business health checks, educational master classes, funding for growth advice, a single point of contact at LCC, discount city centre trading pitches, a student talent pool and peer-to-peer networking events

The academy will be officially launched over two days at two of Leeds’s most prominent food outlets, Belgrave Music Hall and Trinity Kitchen. It will see industry experts deliver sessions and workshops specifically designed to cover start-up business needs (Monday 25 April,, and growing businesses (Tuesday 26 April, For further information, and to book a place, visit the links provided.

For further information about the launch event, to read more about members’ benefits or to contact one of the IFDA support team, visit The IFDA is also on twitter @IFDAcademy and Instagram.