IRELAND-courses – Nurtureher Portal


A part-time level 9 food innovation and entrepreneurship training course aimed for learners in the Agri-food sector, it is delivered through blended learning. The course will encourage and support learners in cultivating and developing their ideas. Providing the student with the required skills and knowledge to take their idea, food product or service to the next level and grow into successful businesses. The course has been developed and is delivered by a combination of qualified staff in Food Science and Nutrition together with a panel of existing food entrepreneurs promoting peer led work-based learning, a network with like-minded people, and a source of inspiration and reality based learning of the setting up and growing a food business. The industry leaders provide mentoring and support to participants throughout the course. Which is imperative for budding food entrepreneurs to help enable them to grow their business and contribute to the growing food industry.…

The ACORNS programme is for early-stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland. It runs over 6 months on a part time basis. Past participants report increased sales, exports and employment creation. The program is based on a belief and piloted experience that entrepreneurs learn best from each other, therefore the ACORNS initiative is centred around interactive round table sessions that are facilitated by female entrepreneurs, which are known as ‘Lead Entrepreneurs’, that have started and successfully grown businesses in rural Ireland.

Female High-Fliers is an accelerator programme for Ireland’s early stage growth focused female start-ups. The programme addresses the challenges facing female entrepreneurs, aiming to fast track the development of business and leadership skills and provide key tools, support and guidance required to grow. HF also provides females with the ability to learn important lessons from other successful females by being part of a supportive group of like-minded founders. This program is avaiable for female founders and co-founders of start-ups which are less than 5 years old with a strong growth potential and focus. It is also avaiable for individuals and teams up to 3 females to apply.…

Going for Growth is designed to support ambitious female entrepreneurs across all sectors of business in the Republic of Ireland. It is for females that are already the owner manager of a business, a major shareholder and a key influencer that is serious about the business’s growth direction and potential. Going for Growth is a free, female-only programme, funded by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG. It offers monthly meetings with experienced female lead entrepreneurs, round-table mentoring service to small groups of female business owners and access to a national forum that gives early-stage female entrepreneurs the chance to network with leading entrepreneurs and build on skills and learnings.
Females whom wish to apply must display significant aspiration for growth and should be working full time in the business. It is expected that the business will have been trading for at least two years.

Exxcel is a part-time programme funded by Enterprise Ireland. It is for the female entreprenur who has a new business idea in the science, technology, engineering and maths sectors with ambition to grow a successful business, with strong export sales and growth potential. It will provide female entrepreneurs the opportunity and supports to develop their idea and start a business. Females will meet with experts who share their expertise and experience, primarily on a one-to-one basis and take part in key business topics such as, Business Strategy and Planning, Finance and access to grants and loans for women, Sales, Branding, Digital Marketing and Presentation Skills.…

The project was led by Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Ireland in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire in the UK, CEJA in Belgium and the Polish Beef Association in Poland.
Project was developed to boost innovation and entrepreneurship in rural communities across Europe. The main objective was to examine short food supply chains in Europe and identify innovative methods to overcome the challenges faced by small food producers when starting and growing their business. The project was completed in February 2019 and produced an innovative and flexible training course for food producers designed by both Agri-Food entrepreneurs and academic leaders. The course provides food producers with transferable skillsets required empowering to gain control of their business, promote innovation, create employment and move up the value chain in the Agri food sector. Course materials were developed and are free to avail of for females starting out or developing an enterprise the Agri-food sector. An online web portal ( was also produced as a project output which displays useful resources for entreprenur in the Agri-food sector. The web portal was specifically designed to enable Europe’s Agri Food Entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate with one another, industry and education bodies providing a channel to stimulate the flow and exchange of knowledge and best practice.

CEF website

Online Portal for Food Entrepreneurs


The EMPOWER is a female only entrepreneurship program delivered in the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology’s Innovation Hubs and developed to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in the western counties of Ireland (Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Letrim and Donegal). The EMPOWER Programme has two components depending on the female’s stage of business:

  •  EMPOWER Start is designed to test innovative ideas for market acceptance. To apply for this program, you must be a female actively planning a new business or in business less than 1 year. This is free programme and is delivered part-time over 12 weeks by start-up experts.
  • EMPOWER Growth is focused on women in business who want to grow. To apply for this program must be in business for 18 months+, clearly understand your value proposition, your customer and market and are seeking to scale and grow your enterprise. Females will receive specific supports from relevant peers, mentors and role models and the program will provide learning that is both peer to peer based and delivered by industry experts.

LEO offer a training course for those wishing to start their own business, providing participants with the opportunity to obtain and/ or develop the necessary skills and knowledge to assess the marketing and financial viability of their business idea/ project.
The course is pitched for those seeking to start their own business, looking to learn the required skills, management tools and expertise to make the right decisions and develop suitable plans and structures for their business. It will help individuals gauge what will be required in order to keep their new venture running effectively and efficiently. This program is for any budding or current entreprenur with an idea that requires developing, an individual that would like to become self-employed and/ or has recently set up a new business venture requiring start up direction and support. Guiding participants through different aspects of business start up from the planning to seeing the venture into fruition. With the key objective in fine tuning their business concept, its viability and providing the participant with the ability to see potential, to proceed or reassess their idea.…

This ‘Food Starter’ programme is delivered over four half days online and is designed to help those with a food idea or those at a very early stage of starting up a food business (typically the first 24 months).
The objective of the programme is to provide the participants with a base knowledge of what is involved in setting up a food business. The content is designed to provide the participant with information to help avoid the pitfalls normally associated with the start-up journey in the food industry.
The content is pitched at a student that has business knowledge on how to run an enterprise (e.g. you must already understand the basics of setting up a business, tax compliance rules, creating a business plan etc). If this is not the case the programme can be completed in conjunction with LEO’s ‘Start Your Own Business Programme’ online.
The core content is designed for those producing food to be sold through third parties i.e. food producers. Certain aspects are pitched and relevant to those setting up cafes/restaurants businesses. This programme will provide an excellent opportunity to boost participants chances of securing a place in the ‘Food Academy Programme’ in partnership with Bord Bia and SuperValu in the future.…

Grow with ALDI
A ‘Special-buy programme’ to help the small to medium sized Irish suppliers in building their brand and developing market-ready products for sale nationwide. It gives small and medium Irish producers the essential skills and support to develop and expand their food businesses. To date, 216 Irish suppliers have entered 510 products into the Grow with Aldi programme.

The program is developed in partnership with Bord Bia. Participants will receive tailored mentoring and bespoke workshops with the Aldi’s Buying team, the Aldi Marketing team and Bord Bia’s technical experts and mentors. In key areas such as Commercial Management & Social media marketing followed by a number of individual mentoring sessions. ‘Grow with Aldi’ supplier development programme, will also give them the opportunity to be listed in Aldi stores nationwide.

It is a program for food and drink companies in Ireland with ambitions to take their product from concept to shelf and see it stocked in Aldi’s 140 Irish stores. If you are an Irish supplier of a food or drink product and would like the opportunity to apply for the Grow with Aldi supplier development programme fill out the application form and contact –

Kick Start is a supplier development programme run by Lidl in conjunction with Bord Bia. The aim of the initiative is to give small Irish food and drink suppliers support in growing their brand and building their supply network. Along with the opportunity to promote their products and grow their business through Lidl stores across the country. Successful suppliers can secure a listing in their twice-yearly events. Suppliers gain invaluable experience through this program on the Lidl ways of working.
Successful suppliers that are selected to be part of the ‘Kick Start Supplier Development Programme’ will attend a series of free, comprehensive seminars aimed at guiding them through the process and teaching them skills to help grow their business ahead of their products going on sale at Lidl. The seminars will be carried out by a panel of industry experts from Lidl Ireland and Bord Bia and will include topics around quality control, packaging, marketing & PR and brand building.
The programme was developed in 2017. Since then 130 Irish companies have seen their products on shelf in Lidl stores nationwide. The ‘Kick starter program’ has opened the European marketplace to many small Irish food suppliers along with a space on the shelf at Lidl. If you are an Irish supplier of a food or drink product and would like the opportunity to grow and sell your product in all Lidl stores throughout the country you can find out more information and apply online through the following link:
For full Terms and Conditions go to

Food Works is a government supported accelerator programme that helps the next generation of scalable and export driven Irish food and drink businesses. Established in 2012, Food Works is run by three government agencies – Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc. They work together to support the innovative people and businesses who are creating the food and drinks future in Ireland. To date Food Works has helped more than 70 Irish food entrepreneurs scale their businesses. The Programme is eager to build on that success and each of the three agencies involved with Food Works plays a specific role in scaling and taking Irish food to global markets.
Food Works run a series of expert led workshops and provide one to one business specific advisory mentoring. Participants will receive an invaluable range of practical business supports essential to develop an initial food business concept into a winning food product with international appeal and global export potential. The available supports include consumer market research, business plan development, technical advice and commercial viability testing. Additionally, successful applicants can gain fast-track access to research and development (R&D) facilities, potential investors and state funding.

‘Digital School of Food’ is an e-learning hub that has been designed to support food producers in developing their food manufacturing businesses from start-up to the growth phase. It is an initiative of from the Local Enterprise Offices, set to help boost the number of quality Irish food start-ups. The ‘Digital School of Food’ is the first of its kind in Europe and gives food entrepreneurs expert advice and guidance, from their home, office or kitchen which allows participants upskill in their own time and, at a pace which suits them.
The new ‘Digital School of Food’ was successfully piloted in the LEO Dublin region in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia. And is now available nationwide to qualifying applicants, run by the Local Enterprise Offices. The online programme is an e-learning initiative that brings producers from idea right through to startup and growth stages of developing a food business.
Giving the food entrepreneurs an education in planning a product journey and route to market, through thinking about finance and how to grow sales, right up to expanding the business. It includes support from experts in the field as each course has a real producer who contributes tips and advice throughout.
The programme includes contributions from trade buyers in Supervalu, Musgraves and Spar along with the likes of Domini Kemp of ITSA Food Group and food producers who have been through the system. Entrepreneurs who complete the Digital School of Food are then primed to move on to take part in the Food Starter programme offered by the Local Enterprise Offices and subsequently Food Academy, which gives producers the opportunity to get their product onto retail shelves.
The Digital School of Food is the latest support established for food entrepreneurs in Ireland by the Local Enterprise Offices, following on from Food Academy and Food Starter.

The EIT Food Seedbed programme is designed to support technology and business-savvy agri-food entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and early-stage start-ups who are looking to validate their minimum viable product and test their assumptions through a unique customer journey discovery programme. This is a multi-location Launch programme that trains and supports teams over a six-month period to help them better understand the needs of their customers and validate their business idea to make a big impact on any part of the food sector, including the way we produce, deliver, consume, recycle and value our food.
A customer-discovery programme provides participants with the ability to test the market directly with 100+ potential customers and learn how to progress from commercial proposition to validated business. At the end of the programme, the participant will be given the opportunity to; pitch their idea to a panel of industry experts, receive constructive feedback and the chance to secure up to €20,000 follow-on funding from EIT to help bring their product to market. This program is avaiable in Northern Ireland, Denmark, Germany, Spain and Poland and more details can be found on the following link:

Food Academy is a training programme aimed at supporting and nurturing early to mid-stage developing food or drink businesses. The program is run by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), Bord Bía and SuperValu to provide a consistent level of food marketing knowledge and support to early-mid stage food business owners in Ireland.
The aim of Food Academy is to provide small food businesses with a solid foundation to progress confidently onto retail shelves. Providing participants with in-depth knowledge of the tools required to assess their market and identify gaps. Understand the core issues that face food or drink businesses and how to overcome them. Participants will learn specific skills in branding and packaging design to grow their sales and knowledge necessary to launch and become a successful food business in Ireland.
Participants will get a unique and valuable opportunity to pitch and present their product to a food panel from SuperValu. If successful they will receive the chance to sell on trial basis in local shops, with the potential over time to spread national and work long-term with SuperValu.…


Technology Ireland is the largest and most influential business organisation representing Ireland’s tech sector. It’s membership is made up of the leading Irish-owned and FDI players in the Irish technology sector. It’s network is structured around a series of core working groups, member forums and networking events, all of which are the primary enablers of our strategy. By forging close working relationships with government departments, state agencies and governing bodies, Technology Ireland ensures the united voice of the Irish technology sector is clearly communicated to the relevant stakeholders and policy makers.