Moate food entrepreneur, Deirdre Hynds, whose company Unwind, produces sugar free bars to help de-stress, was recently afforded the opportunity to showcase at the Food Works 2019 finale.
The Food Works programme is a combined initiative of Enterprise Ireland, Teagasc and Bord Bia and the finale event was an opportunity for the participants to present their product, progress and plans to an influential and interested group of Ireland’s top food and drink business minds.
Referencing the showcase experience, the Moate native expressed in positive terms the opportunity to promote her product on a vast scale.
“We did our research before applying for the Food Works programme, as a start-up entrepreneur, particularly in the food industry, there are a lot of incubation style hubs and programmes you can take part in, so you have to be really selective about where you invest your time and money, as both are resources that are in short supply.
"We were shortlisted and selected to take part in Food Works 2019, and got to work in January 2019, and it really hasn’t stopped since. The programme is intensive and comprehensive, not only do you get access to a network of diverse and relevant industry experts, but you can use your relationship and affiliation with the three organising bodies; Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and Teagasc, to get a broader and richer understanding of the various components of the food business landscape.
"When we started Food Works in January 2019, we had a fantastic concept and brand, but we were struggling with practicalities like manufacturing and production, this is the area that Food Works was able to give us the most practical support and assistance in, which means that we will be ready to launch our brand and products to Ireland and beyond early next year. I personally enjoyed the externally imposed sense of structure that Food Works creates, working for yourself can often be an overwhelming and isolating experience, the connection between the mentors and the other participants of the programme established a sense of community and professional and personal support that was really beneficial," Deirdre commented.
Now that the 2019 programme is complete, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc, are encouraging emerging food and drink enterpreneurs to apply for the 2020 programme via www.foodworksireland.ie
Food Works is the only programme of its kind in Ireland, where three government agencies have come together to help develop innovative food and drink start-ups into commercially viable businesses with export potential. The supports offered by the Food Works programme are valued at over €50,000 and include in-depth consultancy and advice from the three agencies, access to consumer and market research, feasibility funding and bespoke mentoring with industry experts.