Food Works can serve entrepreneurs a banquet of riches

Aside from being absolutely delicious, All Real Nutrition, Wicklow Wolf Craft Beer, Bean and Goose Chocolate, Craft Cocktails and Nobó Dairy Free Ice Cream have something else in common.

Its founders have all experienced growing international success after graduating from Food Works, Ireland’s only dedicated food and drink start-up acceleration scheme which has been completed to date by over 100 Irish food and drink entrepreneurs.

Ambitious food and drink entrepreneurs with dreams of global sales can try to emulate the international successes of these Irish companies by applying to participate in the next round of the programme.

Food Works is now in its 11th year and is open for applications for the next cohort of participants through December 2nd.

What sets this accelerator program apart from others is that it is uniquely collaborative and operated by three government bodies: Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and Teagasc.

Food Works aim is to help businesses achieve rapid scale by enabling Irish food and drink companies to make the most of each agency’s resources and expertise to drive international growth.

Through Teagasc, companies gain access to its specialized research centers, allowing them to take their early prototypes through to manufacturing.

Our Bord Bia colleagues bring in-depth consumer and brand knowledge to the programme, while Enterprise Ireland supports these innovative, ambitious brands to secure investment and build scalable international businesses.

Food Works is a 10-month accelerator program that offers up to 10 companies the opportunity to join the program. Food Works offers attendees workshops with industry experts, tailored mentoring from business consultants, and access to industry experts in finance, manufacturing, retailer engagement, export and marketing, and distribution. It also includes facilitated peer-to-peer learning and networking opportunities.

And upon completion of Food Works, having participated in pitching workshops and panels, each participant exits an investor-ready, fully costed business plan designed for international scaling.

The program concludes with participants participating in an investor pitch in front of a panel of real investors and food and beverage industry experts.

Anyone who applies should plan at least two to three days per month to attend the program, and it is a hybrid program that includes some online sessions as well as some in-person and face-to-face events at Bord Bia. Enterprise Ireland or Teagasc facilities.

Companies that attend also typically embark on an inspirational food journey to London, where they delve into emerging market trends and learn about competitor activity, innovative branding, packaging and global opportunities.

The Food Works program has a market value of €50,000 to €100,000 for each participant and the program fee for participants is €3,000.

Any participating company can apply for an Enterprise Ireland Feasibility Grant of up to €35,000. This includes €15,000 for salary expenses and up to €20,000 of grant funds for other eligible expenses.

Over the last ten years of the programme, over 60 percent of former participants are now exporting. Not only that, but many also help boost regional employment while attempting to build global businesses.

In addition, more than half of the client companies that have taken part in this accelerator program have been founded by women, meaning the food and drink sector has reached this milestone earlier than any other sector in Ireland.

Food Works welcomes applications from companies specializing in food or beverage products, retail ingredients, or hospitality.

In fact, any food or drink entrepreneur in Ireland can apply if their business is less than four years old since their inception.

Applicants should be past the concept stage and have at least one design or prototype to support their application.

Potential applicants can visit for full program and application information and case studies.

There you will also find the 10 at 10 podcast series, celebrating 10 years of Food Works and featuring interviews with business mentors and leading Irish food and drink companies who have previously participated in the program – such as Beekon Batches, Fiid and Thanks Plants.

A shortlist of finalists will be invited for interviews with the Food Works panel in early January, and once participants are selected, the Food Works 2023 program will run from January 31 through November 21 next year.

Dervla McCabe is a development consultant, food company and high potential startups at Enterprise Ireland. Food Works can serve entrepreneurs a banquet of riches

Fry Electronics Team

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