A number of food producers in west and south Cork have benefited from a Leader initiative that provides up to €200,000 funding to individual artisan food companies and food start-ups, with other enterprises now being invited to apply for assistance.

Managed by the SECAD partnership and supported by Cork County Council, the programme has invested a total of €300,000 this year in six Cork companies. The SECAD local development company has invited Cork food producers to avail of this funding opportunity.

Hassetts Bakery; Frank Hederman Smoke House; Leahy’s Ice Cream and Chocolate Factory; Kinsale Bay Food; Clonakilty Chocolate; and Skibbereen Food Company have received support through the Leader programme, with grants for production equipment, branding and marketing resulting in potential job creation of up to 26 new roles.


Local development company SECAD offers supports to business and the community through a variety of funds including the Leader food initiative.

“This funding offers food producers a real opportunity to benefit from investment in market development, competitiveness and innovation,” said Suzanne Kearney of SECAD.

We are inviting food companies to get in touch with us so that we can support them in the funding application. While the funding is open until end of 2020, we are advising food producers to contact us as soon as possible to avail of this excellent opportunity.

The Leader food funding is ideally suited to food producers with distinctive local foodstuffs, marketing and processing for strategically identified sectors including honey and apple processors, and collaborative proposals, with a focus on production quality and market issues.

Improved marketing, product quality and business skills through training are also supported through the programme. All applicants must be registered as a food producer with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. The minimum grant will not be less than €5,000, with a maximum of €200,000.

Job creation

Chancellor Christopher O’Sullivan, mayor of Cork County, said that through the three local development committees, there is a commitment to improving the range and quality of locally based products and facilities which would assist in both job creation and community development.

“Over the years funding through Leader has improved the prosperity of both people and places throughout the county and I’m looking forward to the continuation of same,” he said.

The Leader food initiative is jointly managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Approvals for the awards of funding under this initiative are made by Cork County Council’s Leader local action groups which are sub-groups of the local community development committees.