Food entrepreneurs sought for development programme

Business | Mon 29 Feb | Author – Business & Finance
food Michael Stern

Food Works, a programme jointly run by Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc is seeking ambitious individuals with an interest in building an international food or drink business in Ireland.

Food Works is an intensive business development and accelerator programme designed for food and drink start-ups.

Through a series of workshops and one to one mentoring, successful participants are given an invaluable range of practical business supports required to develop an initial concept into a winning food product with global export potential.

The available supports provided by Bord Bia, Teagasc and Enterprise Ireland, include consumer market research, business plan development, technical advice, commercial viability testing in addition to access to fast track access to R&D facilities and possible investors and state funding.

Over the past three years, following a competitive process attracting in excess of 250 proposals, a total of 60 start-ups from all food sectors have participated in Food Works.

The Food Works team have revealed that 60% of these businesses are now trading which is deemed extremely positive given the high rate of start-up failures within the first 12 months of launching, while 32% of them have started exporting.

Introductory meetings are now being held with candidates interested in being a part of Food Works 2016. Ideal applicants are ambitious food or drink entrepreneurs, or companies trading for less than three years that wish to target export markets and scale their business.

David Carey of Nutraplenish commented: “Food Works allows you to take a step back from your business to define a clear vision and path going forward. The mentor support and industry contacts have been invaluable. Nutraplenish is teaming up with Musgraves for a nationwide launch in April of this year and we are already beginning our export journey with our sights firmly set on the UK market initially.”

Previous participant Roisin Hogan of HiRo by Roisin added: “The programme has been invaluable in helping my business to reach its full potential bringing what started as a simple idea in my kitchen to a reality, with HiRo by Roisin recently receiving a listing in all 223 of SuperValu stores.” HiRo by Roisin is a range of fresh vegetable flour noodle and pasta based chilled meals and now, the lowest calorie meals available on the market. The noodles and pasta are made using vegetable flour making them ultra-low calorie and virtually carbohydrate free whilst maintaining all the taste and texture of regular noodles and pasta.

Natalie and Karen Keane of Bean & Goose said: “Developing a food business can be a daunting task; however this programme offers the necessary practical supports for any entrepreneur considering this move. It was a great opportunity for us to access the expertise of Bord Bia, Teagasc and Enterprise Ireland whose support has enabled us to put a business plan in place that will grow Bean and Goose in the coming years. In 2016, we will increase our workforce, extend our production facilities and export to other countries. We are looking forward to an exciting year and building on the skills and knowledge we gained from participating in Food Works.”

Photo: Michael Stern