Experts from 21 European countries will gather in Dublin today for a two-day meeting of the agri-food sector group of the Enterprise Europe Network. The meeting, co-ordinated by Enterprise Ireland, will take place in Teagasc, Ashtown Co Dublin.

The Agro-food Sector Group comes under the umbrella of the Enterprise Europe Network, which helps small companies make the most of the business opportunities in the EU. The group is comprised of more than 50 people from 21 Enterprise Europe Network partner countries that have a high number of companies working in the agri-food sector in their region that want to improve their innovation capabilities.

The objectives of the group are to raise the innovation capacity of SMEs through the promotion of technology transfer and business co-operation and to provide feedback on the EC policies in the agrofood sector on behalf of the industry.

Experts from Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and Teagasc will outline the supports available to Irish SMEs in the agri-food sector.

Speaking as the host of the Agro-food Sector Group, Jan Gerritsen, Enterprise Ireland and co-ordinator of Enterprise Europe Network Ireland outlined what the meeting will entail: The agri-food industry is the largest manufacturing sector in Europe. This meeting gives Irish SMEs in the agri-food sector the opportunity to reach potential business partners, suppliers and customers in 21 European countries through the 50 contact people attending the meeting of the Agro-food Sector Group.

“In addition, Irish SMEs who wish to deal with partners in Europe can use the resources of the 600 partner organisations in the Enterprise Europe Network and use it as their one-stop-shop for support when doing business in Europe,” said Gerritsen.

The group will hear details of two Irish agri-food industry success stories, Largo Foods and Glenisk and will take a tour of Teagasc’s food research centre at Ashtown.

The meeting will also focus on how the Irish agri-food sector can take advantage of the substantial funding available for research and development under Horizon 2020, the EU research programme that will commence in 2014.

Image Shutterstock