New Irish business food academy

More than 350 small food businesses across Ireland will benefit from Food Academy Start, a new training programme launched this morning.

The programme, aimed at supporting and nurturing start-up food businesses, is being led by Bord Bia, SuperValu and the County Enterprise Boards. They aim to provide a consistent level of food marketing knowledge to new and early-stage food business owners.

According to the organisers: “For the first time, food start-ups regardless of their location will have access to a standardised programme of supports throughout the country. The programme, which will be delivered through workshop-style training, and supported by SuperValu in the context of retail expertise and providing a route to market, is designed to guide companies from start-up to their first retail listing.”

Speaking at the launch today the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD said: “Food Academy Start is an opportunity for ambitious food entrepreneurs looking to build sustainable businesses. Small food businesses play an important part in Ireland’s agri-food sector by enhancing our reputation for dynamic, sustainable, and quality food, as well as providing employment and revenues of €475m per annum. The programme will support participants from the challenging initial phases through to business development plans to assist with future planning. The combination of expertise from both the commercial and marketing will give invaluable insight for the companies involved and is an important step in the cultivation of small food businesses.”


The Food Academy Start programme is primarily targeted at start-up food businesses and current County Enterprise Board clients. It is centered on workshops, designed by Bord Bia and SuperValu, that will roll out from September at intermittent stages of the year. The workshops will be run by 35 County Enterprise Boards, with local Supervalu retailers in each of the regions participating in a Dragons’ Den style pitch process.

The intensive workshops will provide companies with long-term business supports including consumer insight, technical advice, resource planning, commercial advice and marketing development. The output has a core commercial focus whereby all participants will have the opportunity to pitch their product or idea to their local SuperValu, with a view to securing an initial local listing and the potential to build from there. A suite of follow up supports will be exclusively designed by Bord Bia under the Food Academy banner to ensure the continued development of the companies.

For more information or to register your interest in Food Academy Start, visit  or contact your local County Enterprise Board.

Pictured at the launch with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD were Vincent Reynolds, CEB; Martin Kelleher, Supervalu and Aidan Cotter, Bord Bia.