Food Businesses

I’m interested in starting my own Food business, how can LEO Dublin City help me?

Training Supports

We have many courses and programmes to help support those in the food business. Our Digital School of Food is a free e-learning hub to support food producers in developing their food manufacturing businesses from start-up to the growth phase. It is strongly recommended that you complete this prior to availing of any other supports.

The Food Starter Programme is a 2 day programme designed to help those with a food idea/very early stage of starting up a food manufacturing business.

Once you have complete the Food Starter Programme you may be interested in applying for Food Academy Start. Food Academy is a training programme aimed at supporting and nurturing start-up food businesses. In collaboration with Bord Bia and Supervalu, this initiative provides a consistent level of food marketing knowledge to new and early-stage food business owners.

For more information on all these training programmes visit

Mentoring Support

Each week we run a FREE Business Advice Clinic. Over two hours an experienced Business Advisor runs through the essentials of starting your own business. Bookings can be made here.

 For more tailored support, our one to one mentoring programme connects you with an experienced business mentor to provide you with advice to suit your business needs. Each session offers you up to 3 hours contact time with a mentor, which can be made up of onsite/off site visit(s), email/telephone support or time guiding your research for your business. You can choose between one 3 hour (€50) or two 3 hour (€100) sessions. Applications can be made here.

Financial Supports

We offer a number of financial supports to individuals when starting their own Food business including the Feasibility Grant (market research, prototype development), Startup (Priming) Grant (salary costs), Business Expansion Grant (salary costs) Trading Online Voucher (eCommerce) as well as the Technical Assistance for Micro Exporters Grant (international tradeshows).

Alternatively we can assist you with making a Microfinance Ireland (MFI) Loan application. MFI offer unsecured loans of between €2,000 and €25,000 to cover working capital, marketing costs as well as the purchase of stock, equipment, machinery and business vehicles. Applications made through LEO Dublin City can avail of a preferential interest rate.

If you are interested in the financial supports available through LEO Dublin City please ensure you read the eligibility criteria before applying.


Dublin Food Chain (DFC) is a marketing and networking forum representing many outstanding food and drink producers, retailer & distributors that are based throughout Dublin City and County. Whether it is through training, networking or collective marketing, the key aim of DFC is to work together towards promoting and expanding the valuable Dublin food sector.

You might also be interested in joining our Women in Business network.

Management Development Programmes

Our Hi Start Management Development Programme assists ambitious early stage growth focused companies to identify and build foundations required to secure investment and scale the business in international markets. If you would like to take part in this programme, register your interest here.

Aimed at owners/ managers and key staff members of small business who wish to gain an introduction to LEAN concepts, the Lean for Micro Management Develop Programme allows them to gain a practical understanding of LEAN principles. If you would like to take part in this programme, register your interest here.

Our Accelerate Programmeprovides the owner/manager with the management, leadership, business skills and knowledge to achieve sustainability and growth in their business. Register your interest here to participate in our next programme

Plato Dublin provides practical training, business counselling and support so that you acquire the skills necessary to help your business grow and prosper. The programme also provides access to experienced executives from large organisations to support you throughout the two year programme. To find out more visit

Other Supports

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has specific information on the requirements of starting a food business including HACCP, safe catering food labelling, product shelf life as well as a number of free eLearning modules.


Bord Bia is an Irish state agency with the aim of promoting sales of Irish food and horticulture both abroad and in Ireland itself. Bord Bia works for both small and large producers; for small producers by promoting and certifying farmers' markets, and for bigger producers by offering a great range of international marketing services.


New Frontiers is a national entrepreneur development programme, funded by Enterprise Ireland. Aimed at accelerating the development of sustainable new businesses that have strong employment and growth potential. Delivered by third-level institutions, at 16 locations around Ireland, it provides a comprehensive set of business development supports to participants. Supports include:

  • Training

  • Mentoring

  • Access to office space,

  • Scholarships

  • Peer to peer learning

  • Networking

  • Access to Enterprise Ireland experts

  • Introductions to seed and early stage capital investment networks


The New Frontiers Programme is delivered across three phases:

Phase 1: Testing Your Business Idea (2 evenings for 8 – 10 weeks)

Phase 2: Business Planning (6 months Full-Time)

Phase 3: Business Development (2/3 months Full-Time)


For more information on supports available to you visit