Cork food and drink start-ups take note

Rachel and Brian Nolan, founders of Nobó, the popular dairy free ice-cream and chocolate brand, who credit the programme with their early acceleration and direction.

High potential, innovative and export driven food and drink start-ups from Cork are being sought to join the next accelerator programme from Food Works.

The Lismore Food Company in county Waterford, along with Cork company, Rebel City Distillery together with Fiid and Nobó, are among over 100 companies that have already completed the programme since it began in 2012.

Participating start-ups will be supported to get investor ready with a comprehensive business plan focussed on them scaling internationally. Participants will also be eligible to apply for feasibility grant funding of up to €35,000 through Enterprise Ireland.

A collaborative tri-agency initiative run by Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc, Food Works is a unique food and drink entrepreneurship programme that runs annually over 10 months, from March to December. It includes workshops with national and international industry experts across various disciplines such as strategy, finance, product development, marketing and other areas.

Start-ups also receive customised support from business advisors, facilitated peer-to-peer learning and networking opportunities across the industry – at home and abroad.


Tara McCarthy, CEO Bord Bia describes the ideal candidates for the next programme as being ambitious and innovative, with the ability to scale and the potential to export.

“Food Works has been feeding ambition and innovation among Ireland’s food and drink entrepreneurs for almost 10 years, with proven success in supporting Irish start-ups to succeed. The programme aims to support and assist rising stars to achieve their ambitions in domestic and international markets, all the time working toward enhancing the global positioning of Ireland’s food and drink sector.”

“Irish food products are enjoying a growing reputation internationally coupled with strong demand. Last year, despite significant disruption to normal market operation, Irish food, drink, and horticulture exports were valued at over €13bn,” she added.

The three state agencies work jointly to deliver the Food Works programme. Teagasc provides integrated research, technical advice, and training services. Its state-of-the-art food centres in Dublin and Cork provide participants with access to facilities, equipment, and specialist expertise.

Bord Bia provides strategic insight and support, assisting participating companies’ in their understanding of consumers, competitors, trends, opportunities and both domestic and international markets.

Meanwhile, Enterprise Ireland is responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in global markets. Its Food Division focusses on supporting high potential food and drink companies on developing their export sales.

The closing date for applications for the 2022 programme is 3rd December, 2021.

Full details are available at