Ambassadors For Food Works Programme Announced


Kick-starting the recruitment campaign for Food Works 2019, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc have announced the coming together of some of Ireland’s best business minds to help develop the next batch of serial food and drink entrepreneurs and high potential start-ups. 

David McKernan, Java Republic; Ann Murray, Lír Chocolates; Paddy Callaghan, Natures Best; Pat Rigney, The Shed Distillery, Stephen Twadell, Food Investor & Business Coach; Larry Murrin, Dawn Farm Foods and John O’Brien, O’Brien Fine Foods were announced as ambassadors for the next phase of the programme, with recruitment now underway. Food Works, run by Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc is this year targeting food and drink business propositions, including those from serial entrepreneurs, with significant potential to scale. Applications are being sought from individuals and companies at various stages of development, from start-ups through to existing businesses with a strong entrepreneurial ethos.

From the worlds of coffee, chocolate, fresh produce, meat, alcohol and FMCGs, the ambassadors are serial entrepreneurs, marketing and business transformation experts who will offer broad industry expertise and mentoring capabilities to the programme. 

Food Works is an intensive programme which guides successful participants from the initial concept phase through to the development of a winning food product with international appeal and global export potential. This includes the provision of a full range of practical business supports designed to provide participants with an investor-ready business plan. Among the supports are consumer market research, one-to-one mentoring, technical advice, commercial viability testing in addition to access to fast track access to research and development (R&D) facilities, possible investors and state funding.

Karen Tyner, Senior Manager, Bord Bia, said: “We are looking for companies with innovative products, export potential, financial viability and a strong team to join the sixth phase of our programme. This year we are also keen to attract individuals who have the ambition to become serial entrepreneurs who we will tailor a bespoke package of supports for. The key for us is identifying propositions which meet a genuine market need and can demonstrate an opportunity to scale for the export market.” 

Nicola Nic Phaidin, Manager of Food High Potential Start Ups, Enterprise Ireland, said: “Food Works is a hothouse for supporting high potential food start-ups. Enterprise Ireland have invested almost €2m in Food Works companies to date and we are proud to be able to say that five years after launching Food Works almost half of the companies we have worked with are already exporting around the world, while many more are well on the way to achieving their export potential.”

Over the last five years, Food Works has worked with 76 food and drink companies to develop scalable and export focussed business ideas. Commenting on the programme, Paul Simpson, Sales and Marketing Director, Dairy Concepts said: “Since we’ve graduated from Food Works, we have already created 7 jobs. We expect to more than double that next year and then quadruple it by the end of 2020 and those are all full-time jobs. They’re from many different disciplines – from manufacturing, and technical to marketing and finance.”

For further information on Food Works visit