Online resources for starting a food business

There are many supports and services for individuals and entrepreneurs looking to start a food business in Ireland.

Government supports for Start-ups 

This is an online guide to increase awareness of the supports for start ups and small businesses from the Irish Government


Starting a business from Citizens Information

Assistance and advice for entrepreneurs. If you are thinking of setting up a business there are a number of issues you need to consider. Different supports and regulations apply, depending on your particular situation.


State Agencies

We have provided a brief summary of the who’s who from state agencies, legal and regulatory bodies to sources of consumer and market research.

Food Works

Entrepreneurs with ambitious export targets might be interested in the Food Works programme that is run in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc. This programme starts in April each year and provides a structure to explore your idea and develop it to a business plan designed to secure external investment


Food Academy

This is a training programme aimed at supporting and nurturing start-up food businesses. Bord Bia, SuperValu and the Local Enterprise Offices have joined forces to provide a consistent level of food marketing knowledge.


LEO Food Starter Programme 

This ‘Food Starter programme’ is a short two-day programme designed to help those with a food idea or those at a very early stage of starting up a food business (typically the first 24 months). 


Local Enterprise Office

Your first point of call should be your Local Enterprise Office (LEO) for advice, mentoring, business plans and training programmes tailored to start-up businesses. 


Enterprise Ireland

Encourages and supports new High Potential Start-Up businesses (HPSUs). The main criteria for EI is >10 employees and companies either already exporting or planning to within a short period of time with turnover in excess of €1m. Please see the resourcing your business section on guidance to seeking funding, mentoring, advice and training as well as grant aid from EI.



Offer training courses at the Ashtown Food Research Centre in Dublin and the Dairy Products Research Centre in Fermoy, County Cork, aimed at strengthening in-company capabilities in quality systems, food safety and hygiene, food technology and product development and marketing.



They help to develop the Irish seafood industry by providing technical expertise, business support, funding, training and promoting responsible environmental practice.


FSAI Starting a Food Business

Note that the FSAI has a section of its website dedicated to starting a food business.


Bord Bia Vantage

Bord Bia has a dedicated site, Vantage, for smaller food businesses that will also be useful to those considering starting a food business.


Quality/Food Safety


Health Service Executive

(HSE) for contact details of your local Environmental Health Officer (EHO), necessary for start-up food companies


Food Safety Authority

(FSAI) for up to date information on labeling requirements, making health claims, an updated list of allergens, new EU regulations etc.


Rural/Regional Development Agencies

Realising our Rural Potential, the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development, aims to unlock the enormous potential of Ireland’s rural communities to improve the lives of those living and working in rural areas.


Skillnet a state-funded, enterprise-led support body dedicated to the promotion and facilitation of training and upskilling.


Western Development Commission 

The WDC is a statutory body promoting economic and social development in counties Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare.


Farmers Markets

Small Irish Food and drinks producers often begin trading at local farmers' markets and the effect that such markets have in any start-up company’s development cannot be underestimated.

Farmers’ Markets allow a company to develop a loyal customer base in their local community, to gather valuable feedback on their products as well as suggestions for new products; they are also essential in guaranteeing regular cash flow for small businesses which is all the more important in the current climate.

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Bord Bia Vantage

Bord Bia has a dedicated site, Vantage, for smaller food businesses that will also be useful to those considering starting a food business. As well as describing the role of the different agencies that can assist such enterprises, it also has plenty of advice on marketing your food business

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