Ambitious food entrepreneurs are being asked to apply for Food Works, an intensive business development and accelerator programme designed for food and drink start-ups.

The Food Works programme is jointly run by Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc.

Through a series of workshops and one to one mentoring, successful participants are given an invaluable range of practical business supports required to develop an initial concept into a winning food product with global export potential.

The available supports provided by Bord Bia, Teagasc and Enterprise Ireland, include consumer market research, business plan development, technical advice, commercial viability testing in addition to access to fast track access to R&D facilities and possible investors and state funding.

Over the past three years, Bord Bia has said that following a competitive process attracting in excess of 250 proposals, a total of 60 start-ups from all food sectors have participated in Food Works.

The Food Works team have revealed that 60% of these businesses are now trading which is deemed extremely positive given the high rate of start-up failures within the first 12 months of launching, while 32% of them have started exporting.

Introductory meetings are now being held with candidates interested in being a part of Food Works 2016.

These meetings will help to establish if the Food Works programme is the right support for you and your business at this stage of development.

Ideal applicants are ambitious food or drink entrepreneurs, or companies trading for less than three years that wish to target export markets and scale their business.

Interested participants are invited to register online for an introduction meeting in Dublin, Fermoy or Athenry via the Food Works website:

  • Tuesday, March 8, Teagasc, MoorePark, Fermoy, Cork.
  • Thursday, March 10, Enterprise Ireland, Eastpoint Business Park, Dublin.
  • Tuesday, March 22, Enterprise Ireland, Eastpoint Business Park, Dublin.
  • Tuesday, April 5, Teagasc, Athenry, Galway.

Following this, companies will be asked to complete a formal application for Food Works bootcamp on May 26 and 27 from which up to 15 companies will be selected to progress through to the programme beginning in June.

Speaking about the programme, David Carey of Nutraplenish, a producer of protein water, said that Food Works allows you to take a step back from your business to define a clear vision and path going forward.

“The mentor support and industry contacts have been invaluable.

“Nutraplenish is teaming up with Musgraves for a nationwide launch in April of this year and we are already beginning our export journey with our sights firmly set on the UK market initially,” he said.