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A Taste For Success - Food Works Celebrates 10 years

Ireland’s leading food and drink accelerator helps raise over €6.5m in funding for early-stage companies in last 10 years. Food Works launches recruitment drive for 2023 and calls for ambitious start-ups to apply.

Food Works, Ireland’s leading accelerator programme for early-stage food and drink companies, has helped raise over €6.5m in funding for participants in last 10 years. The programme, which combines the resources of three government agencies - Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc - has been a fundamental driver of innovation and entrepreneurship in the sector in the last decade. The funding was accessed through High-Potential Start-Up fund investments (HPSU); Competitive Start-Up Funding (CSF) investments and feasibility grants supplied by Enterprise Ireland.  Food Works is currently seeking applications from high-potential, ambitious start-up food and drink businesses to take part in the 2023 programme.

Food Works was established in 2012 and since then has welcomed over 100 companies through the programme, including hugely successful food and drink brands such as Wicklow Wolf; Nobó, Lismore Food Company, Fiid and Thanks Plants, to name just a few. Successful applicants can receive feasibility grant funding of up to €35,000. In addition, since the programme began, 19 participants have successfully secured High-Potential Start-Up investments (HPSU) and 17 companies have received Competitive Start-Up Funding (CSF).  

Food Works ’10 at 10’

To celebrate 10 years, Food Works is also launching a video podcast series with a weekly episode which kicks off this Friday at 10am on the Food Works social media channels. The Food Works ’10 at 10’ series will feature interviews with leading Irish food and drink companies who have been through the programme, and Food Works business advisors and mentors offering tips and advice for early-stage food and drink companies.

Among those to be interviewed is Simon Lynch from Wicklow Wolf who, along with his business partner Quincey Fennelly, took part in Food Works in 2013. Speaking about the opportunity the programme offers, he said,  

“Food Works gave us an opportunity to really focus on what we were trying to do. We had a business plan coming into the programme and the Food Works team helped us to analyse and drill down into it. The one we landed on, with the help of the Food Works mentors, is the one we ultimately stuck by. Food Works also provided a huge networking opportunity. Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and Teagasc opened up a whole new network for us, which ultimately provided access to HPSU funding we received from Enterprise Ireland. This gave us a really solid footing to move the company into the future.”

Food Works 2023

Food Works runs annually over 10 months from February to December. Participating start-ups are supported to get investor ready by developing a comprehensive business plan focussed on scaling internationally. Successful applicants take part in workshops with national and international industry experts across various disciplines such as strategy, finance, product development and marketing. They also receive customised support from business advisors, facilitated peer-to-peer learning and networking opportunities across the industry - at home and abroad.

The three state agencies, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc, work jointly to deliver the Food Works programme. Bord Bia provides strategic insight and support, assisting participating companies in their understanding of consumers, competitors, trends, opportunities and both domestic and international markets.  Enterprise Ireland is responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in global markets. Its Food Division focuses on supporting high-potential food and drink companies on developing their export sales. Meanwhile, Teagasc provides integrated research, technical advice, and training services. Its state-of-the-art food centres in Dublin and Cork provide participants with access to facilities, equipment, and specialist expertise.

The closing date for applications for the 2023 programme is 2nd December 2022. Full details and an application form are available at FoodWorksIreland.ie