Bord Bia calls for applications for new Ascent programme

Bord Bia has called for applications from medium-sized food and drink companies to apply to its new Ascent programme.

The initiative, supported by PWC, is to help such companies to address their ‘growing pains’.

Bord Bia said that the Ascent programme is targeted at companies who find themselves at a crossroads and recognise the need for intervention if they are to achieve their full market potential.

Olivia Slevin, Manager at Bord Bia, said that Ascent is a new, bespoke service designed to provide targeted, personalised support to a small number of Irish food and drink companies looking to identify and overcome obstacles to growth.

“From our experience, companies often have the capacity and drive to scale up however they may be faced with a challenge such as production, export market analysis, team structures, brand positioning, financial planning or category management.

“We believe external support and advice will help address and overcome these stumbling blocks and as result companies will be better positioned to expand into sustainable and profitable growth,” she said.

PWC will assist in terms of the initial diagnostic, problem solving sessions and the mentoring where appropriate.

Speaking at the launch, PWC Director Colm O’Callaghan highlighted the importance of continuous support for companies.

“Many companies plateau after the first growth phase and can find it difficult to break out of that position for a considerable period.

“For companies with an ambition to succeed in the second phase of growth, a specific set of resources is required to support their development.

“That’s why PWC is delighted to partner an initiative such as Ascent which will help deliver a comprehensive suite of services across a combination of key areas including strategic review, consumer orientation, branding, product quality and peer and expert advice to companies with the potential to significantly grow their business,” O’Callaghan said.

Applicants to the programme should have an annual turnover over €1m and less than €10m.

There is a €500 participation fee for companies who wish to avail of this service, however the mentoring and diagnostic supports will be valued at a minimum of €10,000.

Bord Bia said that the deadline for applications is Friday August 21, 2015.