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Considering starting a food business? Read this...

Developing a food business can be a daunting task, however this programme offers the necessary practical supports for any entrepreneur considering this move... 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 - Natalie and Karen Keane of Bean & Goose chocolatiers

Do you have a big idea for a food business? Interested in creating a successful and scalable global food business? Food Works, an intensive business development and accelerator programme designed for food and drink start-ups, could be the ideal opportunity for you.

The programme commences in June and will run until December 2016 with introductory meetings and application process to precede this.

Ambitious entrepreneurs, with an interest in building an international food or drink business in Ireland, are being sought for participation in the third annual Food Works, a programme jointly run by Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc.

Read on to find out more about the programme... and how to apply.

Success of the Programme

Over the past three years, from more than 250 proposals a total of 60 start-ups from all food sectors have participated in Food Works. Given that the first year of any startup can be difficult, it’s positive news that 60% of businesses who took part in the programme are now, while 32% of them have started exporting.

Speaking about the programme, Roisin Hogan, HiRo by Roisin said "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.


“Developing a food business can be a daunting task, however this programme offers the necessary practical supports for any entrepreneur considering this move -  Natalie and Karen Keane of Bean & Goose chocolatiers

How it works

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. The cost to participate on the Food Works Programme is €3,000 which allows for two participants per company.

Meet the Food Works Team

Applications for this year’s Food Works 2016 programme are not being accepted just yet, In the meantime, introductory meetings are now being held with candidates interested in being a part of Food Works. 2016. These meetings will help to establish if the programme is the right support for you and your business at this stage of development. Ideal applicants are ambitious food or drink entrepreneurs, or companies trading for less than 3 years that wish to target export markets and scale their business.

Introductory Meeting Details

Interested participants are invited to register online for an introduction meeting in one of the below locations, click on the relevant link to find out more:

When do applications open?

Applications will open on Friday 15th April 2016 and close on Tuesday 10th May at 5pm. The application will consist of a written application form, CVs of promoter and team and any other research and collateral that is available to demonstrate the business potential. Approx 25 finalists will be shortlisted to attend a two day bootcamp on 26th & 27th May.

Bootcamp is an opportunity for finalists to meet and network with leading food and beverage industry experts, Business advisors from the Food Works Programme and key agency personnel over an intensive 2 days.

Useful Stats on the food industry

  • Food represents 12.3% of Irelands total export
  • Contributes to 8.8% of total employment (DAFM 2014)
  • 40,000 direct jobs and sustaining 20,000 indirect jobs in rural communities
  • In 2015, Food and Drink Exports increased by 3% to Reach Record High of €10.8 billion

For more information

Check out the Food Works website for more information about Food Works.

If you’re thinking of setting up a food business, take a look at Bord Bia Vantage website for information on State supports.

Did you know there are over 80 Government supports for small businesses getting started or looking to expand? Answer 8 simple questions on the Supporting SMEs website to find out which supports you could avail of.