According to organizers, nearly 350 Irish small food businesses will benefit from Food Academy Start, a new training programme launched today aimed at supporting and nurturing start up food businesses. Bord Bia, SuperValu and the County Enterprise Boards have joined forces on this initiative to provide a consistent level of food marketing knowledge to new and early-stage food business owners. For the first time, food start ups regardless of their location will have access to a standardized 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 commented "Food Academy Start is a unique 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 €475 million 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 www.localenterprise.ie or contact your local County Enterprise Board.