The hugely successful Food Academy programme is now open for budding food and drink entrepreneurs in across the country. The programme, which is run by the Local Enterprise Offices in partnership with SuperValu and Bord Bia, is now open for applications until the 26th June for its latest intake.

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Pictured:Carmel Biggane, Supervalu, Oisin Geoghegan, Local Enterprise Offices and Karen Tyner, Bord Bia with a selection of Food Academy products at the launch of Food Academy 2020

The Food Academy programme was established in 2013 to support early stage food and drink producers and small food businesses who are just starting out. The applicants are trained through their Local Enterprise Office with expertise from Bord Bia and the opportunity at the end of the programme to graduate onto the shelves of their local SuperValu, getting a potential listing in one of Ireland’s biggest retailers.

Participants on the programme receive training in market research, branding and the consumer, food safety, marketing & social media, finance and growing your business. The programme has graduated many well-known food and drink brands since it began 7 years ago including the likes of The Happy Pear, Strong Roots, Dr. Coy’s Health Foods, Absolute Nutrition, Solaris Tea and Hope Beer.

Since Food Academy began, producers that have come through the programme have sold approximately €140million worth of produce and supported 1,500 jobs across the country.

Tomás Hayes, Local Enterprise Office Kerry and the Local Enterprise Offices Food Committee, said; “We have a proud tradition of quality food and drink producers in Ireland. There is now a very defined path that those with ambitions to become food entrepreneurs can follow through the Digital School of Food, through to Food Starter and Food Academy. Food and drinks producers contribute hugely to our local economy through sales and also supporting jobs. Food Academy has shown that it can bring the very best out of up and coming food businesses so if you are starting out and want to give your business a great chance and the opportunity to secure a listing at one of Ireland’s largest retailers then this is the way to go.”

The Food Academy programme is just one of the food enterprise supports available through your Local Enterprise Office. These supports also include the Digital School of Food, which enables food entrepreneurs develop their food business idea, along with Food Starter that gives them the expertise and guidance to make those first steps into creating a new food or drink business. To apply for Food Academy, contact your Local Enterprise Office before the 26th June.