A Healthy Appetite for Disruption? Read On
18th September 2023
Are you an early-stage food or drink company interested in scaling your business? Do you have a category-disrupting product, solution or ingredient with export potential? Then look no further than Food Works, Ireland’s leading accelerator programme for high-potential food, drink, ingredients, food science and technology companies. Food Works is currently seeking applications for its 2024 programme.
Combining the resources of Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc, Food Works has been a fundamental driver of innovation in the food sector in the last decade. Food Works helps to drive scale and enables participants to become investor-ready in order to achieve success in domestic and international markets. The ten-month programme also provides access to grant funding, buyers, mentors and investors.
Successful applicants on the 2023 programme included Zingibeer, GoodBrew, EAST by Kwanghi Chan, Slice of Life, Cream of the Crop, Wexbury Spirits and Naked Bakes.
Speaking about the benefits of the programme, Rachel Byrne from Zingibeer said
“Food Works makes you zoom out on the business and think big.
We’re building a strategy as part of our business plan and you have to ask yourself questions about the direction you want to go in that without the programme you may have put on the long finger. To think at the end of the process we’ll have a really robust pitch and business plan is really exciting and will be a huge asset to the business.”
Food Works was established in 2012 and since then has welcomed over 100 companies through the programme, including hugely successful food and drink brands such as Wicklow Wolf; Nobó, Lismore Food Company, Grá Chocolates and Thanks Plants, to name just a few. Since the programme began, Enterprise Ireland has invested over €5.64 million in Food Works companies including 20 High-Potential Start-Up (HPSU) and 18 PSSF/CSF investments.
Food Works 2024
Food Works runs annually from February to November. Participating start-ups take part in workshops with national and international industry experts across various disciplines such as strategy, finance, manufacturing and marketing. Successful applicants are supported to get investor-ready by developing a comprehensive business plan focussed on scaling internationally. They also receive customised support from business advisors, facilitated peer-to-peer learning and may have the opportunity to receive feasibility grant funding of up to €35,000.
The three state agencies, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc, work jointly to deliver the Food Works programme. Bord Bia provides strategic insight and support, assisting participating companies in their understanding of consumers, competitors, trends, opportunities and both domestic and international markets.
Enterprise Ireland focuses on helping entrepreneurs to start and grow their business internationally. It works collaboratively with the High Potential Start-Ups (HPSUs) taking part in Food Works to develop a robust funding strategy to drive growth and supports them to prepare an investor ready business plan.
Teagasc provides technical support to companies in the development of high-quality, sustainable products, processes and packaging solutions. State-of-the-art food centres in Dublin and Cork provide participants with access to facilities, equipment, and specialist expertise.
The closing date for applications for the 2024 programme is 1st December 2023. Full details and an application form are available at FoodWorksIreland.ie
Pictured: Stuart McNamara, Wexbury Spirits; Aisling Tuck, Naked Bakes; Rachel Byrne, Zingibeer; Giselle Makinde, Cream of the Crop; Kwanghi Chan, EAST by Kwanghi; and Dee Shroeder, Good Brew are currently taking part in Food Works.
@foodworksirl | #FoodWorks