Networking and great food were on the menu at the MNFG Business Briefing on 4 October. Proudly supported by the City of Whittlesea, Hume City Council and Quest Epping, the event involved 30 people meeting at the Quest Epping Apartment Hotel to have input and learn about the services MNFG provides for businesses.
Recommendations that guide MNFG
Partners were welcomed by NORTH Link Executive Director Chris James, who highlighted four key recommendations received from early roundtables and consultations. The following recommendations have since been an integral aspect of MNFG’s actions:
- establish an industry-owned representative organisation
- establish an innovation cluster
- establish a skills cluster
- actively promote the region’s food and beverage sector.
Team Leader Economic Development at the City of Whittlesea, Sarah Rowe, spoke of MNFG’s evolvement from its beginnings as the Plenty Food Group. She explained how it is now an industry group with an impressive list of services that continues to create opportunity for businesses. Sarah emphasised the level of support Council has for MNFG.
2018 trade shows and future activities
MNFG General Manager Membership, Events and International Trade, Margaret McLelland, highlighted the list of 2018 trade shows that partners have been involved in under the MNFG banner. Overseas trips had partners travel to Dubai and Thailand for Gulfood and Thaifex. Both trips proved beneficial as partners gained access to buyers across the globe.
Domestically, Melbourne’s North Food Expo and Fine Food Australia allowed partners to proudly display their products to Melbourne and beyond. Following the success partners experienced at recent shows, Margaret was excited by the opportunities that lay ahead – one of those opportunities being the Food Hotels China trade show in Shanghai.
Words from MNFG partner
Proud MNFG partner Connie Manglaviti from Naturally Good Products spoke of her business’s journey with MNFG. Connie flipped the dynamic by highlighting that, for all partners to benefit, partners must contribute just as much as they receive.
“It’s important that we not only get value, but that we also add value back,” she said.
MNFG General Manager Operations, Tony Coppola, informed the crowd about MNFG’s role and the capabilities it has to benefit Melbourne’s north:
- to provide leadership, voice and advocacy for the sector
- to drive growth, productivity and competitiveness
- to build exporting capabilities
- to build business capabilities and collaborations
- to foster innovation
- to generate new jobs
- to reduce business costs.
Tony advised the group on current opportunities that can assist with cost reductions and business growth:
- Group buying for energy and insurance gives partners the chance to save money by aggregating demand.
- Free strategic business reviews allow partners to gain a deeper level of understanding into their business.
- Industry and education roundtables allow businesses to have input into services provided by education institutions.
- The partnership MNFG has with RMIT University, La Trobe University, Melbourne Polytechnic and Kangan Institute offers businesses free student placements, benefitting both students and partners.
“We are delighted that food and beverage business partners are taking advantage of our high value services and activities such as trade shows and exhibitions to increase sales, and business reviews and forums that build business capability. It was also great to network and get feedback directly from business owners on current and future issues,” he said.
Doing business with China was considered a major drawcard for partners entering the group. Tony highlighted the successful relationship MNFG has fostered with Chongqing and Beijing delegates as an example of international opportunities offered.
Thanks to Sponsors
The briefing was sponsored by the City of Whittlesea, Hume City Council, Hot Coals Catering, Shearasun Brewing, Wine by Sam and Quest Epping.