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Food Works - New Initiative Launched to Support Next Generation Food Entrepreneurs

Are you a budding food entrepreneur? Could you create and run a successful export orientated food business? Do you have the creativity, enthusiasm and drive to bring a new food product to the global market? If so, Food Works, a new comprehensive training and development programme launched today could be the ideal opportunity for you. Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc have combined resources to design an in-depth process aimed at finding and fostering global food entrepreneurs. Successful participants will be given an invaluable range of practical business supports required to develop an initial concept into a winning food product with international appeal. The available supports will include consumer market research, business plan development, technical advice, commercial viability testing in addition to access to incubation units, research and development (R&D) facilities and possible investors.

Speaking at the launch today the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD said “Food Works is a unique opportunity for ambitious and determined new food entrepreneurs to build great food businesses. The Food Harvest 2020 report highlighted entrepreneurship as essential to building a truly successful indigenous food industry and the importance of developing and nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship. Our target of growing food exports by 50% to reach €12 billion before 2020 is ambitious; it requires huge commitment by private and public interests. Food Works is an example of development agencies working together in a new way to improve the climate and opportunities for growth and I look forward to it fostering new food businesses with high potential for development.”

Seán Sherlock T.D., Minister for Research & Innovation, added “This new collaborative programme is unique in bringing together the capabilities of Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc in a way that will drive forward the growth of new entrepreneurial food companies. By combining their expertise in business development, consumer needs and market demand, and production technologies and research, the three organisations are helping to develop a new ecosystem for food with a strong focus on building strong and sustainable new food start ups”.

Ideal Candidates
Food Works is open to all determined and energetic individuals with an interest in building an international food business in Ireland. The programme is designed for new food entrepreneurs who have ambitious scalable, export plans and ideas. Candidates may apply on an individual basis, as part of a team or a company if it has been in existence for less than 2 years.

Five Stages
The first stage of Food Works (www.foodworksireland.ie) is centered around three open call information evenings taking place in Tayto Park, Ashbourne, Co. Meath on Monday 26th March; Sheraton Hotel, Athlone on Wednesday 28th and UCC (Western Gateway Building), Cork on Thursday 29th March. At these sessions, attendees will gain a better understanding of the programme and how to get involved; meet with representatives from Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc and hear from inspirational Irish food entrepreneurs such as Ray Coyle, Largo Foods (Tayto), Mary Ann O’Brien, Lily O’Briens chocolates and Michael Carey, Chairman, Bord Bia and The Company of Food.

In April, additional interactive workshops and information evenings will be held where Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc will share their insight and expertise on how to review export markets, examine consumer trends, provide technical advice and access business viability. Interested parties will then be asked to submit a detailed online application before Monday 14th May.

In June, a panel with representatives from Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, Teagasc and experienced food entrepreneurs will conduct one-to-one interviews to select 30 successful applicants who will receive one to one mentoring; consumer insight consultancy; R&D assistance and a €5,000 feasibility grant. All concepts and ideas will be stress-tested with consumers in Ireland and key overseas markets. Following this process, 15 participants will move forward to the final stage to develop an investor ready business plan.

For more information on Food Works or to register for the initial information evenings, visit www.foodworksireland.ie