New Food Starter Programme Targets Fresh Growth For Food Entrepreneurs


Food Starter Programme Article

A new food entrepreneur programme, launched today by Minster for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, T.D., is aimed at attracting more new Irish food start-ups to the market. The Food Starter Programme, which will be run by the Local Enterprise Offices in conjunction with Bord Bia, will give emerging food entrepreneurs and those who want to begin their food production journey, practical support to bring their idea or product to life.

The new Food Starter programme, which is run across two days, will focus on providing new and emerging food businesses with all the information they need in the early stages of food production. This will include product research, identifying gaps and opportunities in the food market, branding and brand building, production costs and distribution.

The Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities, who are funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland, already deliver the highly successful Food Academy Programme.

Announcing this new Food Starter Programme, Minster for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, T.D., said; “The new Food Starter Programme by our network of Local Enterprise Offices and Bord Bia is another example of giving Irish food entrepreneurs the opportunity to shine. Our food business industry is one of the finest in the world but we must continue to foster the next generation of food start-ups. We have an estimated 250 emerging new food entrepreneurs annually in Ireland and with the Food Starter Programme we hope to increase that number and give these entrepreneurs the access to the right guidance and mentoring to help them get their products onto shelves.”

Oisin Geoghegan, Head of the Local Enterprise Offices Food Committee, said; “The Local Enterprise Offices across the country play a key role in fostering the next generation of food entrepreneurs and with the new Food Starter programme we get the chance to bring them from idea right through to their product sitting on the shelf. Irish food is renowned the world over and we have to continue to give current and budding food producers the opportunity to get their ideas to market. The Food Academy programme has already been a huge success for the LEOs and the Food Starter programme lets us guide even more people towards indigenous food production nationwide.”

Eileen Bentley, Senior Marketing Strategy Manager, Bord Bia, said: “Bord Bia is all too aware of the steep learning curve faced by new food businesses and our aim with the Food Starter programme was to use our food expertise to develop the capability of participating food entrepreneurs to help ensure their long-term viability. The two-day Food Starter programme has been devised to ensure that new producers get the right start, encompassing best practice and tips from other food producers and essential learnings in areas such as marketing, routes to market, food safety and managing finance. Emerging and innovative food producers are a crucial component of Ireland’s rich food and drink industry and at fledgling stage they need specialised support at local level which this new programme will deliver.’’

The programme is set out in an interactive workshop format which will include case study reviews of food producers, video stories, successful producers sharing their learnings, break out exercises and preparation for the next generation of food entrepreneur to navigate their journey successfully. Many of those who complete the Food Starter Programme will then move on to the Food Academy programme, where they will get the opportunity to bring their products to the shelf.

For more information on how to access the programme contact your Local Enterprise Office through