Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology’s (GMIT’s) certificate in food innovation and entrepreneurship course is set to run once again, starting on January 31.

Funded through the Higher Education Authority Springboard initiative, the part-time course is delivered by high-profile entrepreneurs such as Brendan Allen, Castlemine Farms, with input and contributions from course graduates including Ami Madden of Valhalla Meats.

First delivered in GMIT in 2016, the course is designed for agri-food sector workers such as local and regional food producers, farmers, food entrepreneurs and the wider agricultural community, where entrepreneurial training has not typically been prioritised.

It provides participants with the knowledge and work-based skills required to foster and develop their food ideas into successful businesses, encouraging participants to consider food entrepreneurship as a career.

Dr. Lisa Ryan, head of the GMIT Department of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition, said that the course has been developed by a combination of qualified staff in food science and nutrition, together with a panel of food entrepreneurs and promotes work-based learning.

“Interacting with food entrepreneurs provides participants with the opportunity to network with like-minded people, be inspired by their success and learn the reality of setting up and growing a food business,” she said.

“The industry leaders provide mentoring and support to participants throughout the course.

“Our graduates found the experiential learning environment and interaction with industry an extremely beneficial and rewarding experience.”

This part-time certificate (level 9) will be delivered via blended learning two days/week for 16 weeks. Most of the course will be delivered online, with classroom-based activities for two days every four weeks approximately.

Successful applicants will have access to high level support and mentoring together with the opportunity of gaining practical support for business start-ups that will emerge from the programme.

Moving away from the traditional style of teaching, this course will take a practice-based, real-world, collaborative approach in its delivery methods.

Graduates will possess the skillsets to develop and execute a business concept. They will have a unique awareness of the business creation dynamics and skills required to establish a business in the food or any other sector, according to GMIT.

The course is fully funded by the Springboard / HEA programme, with those employed paying €300. With only 30 places on offer, applicants are encouraged to apply through the Springboard website early to avoid disappointment.

The closing date for applications is Tuesday, January 25.