An innovative new online food programme, from the Local Enterprise Offices, which is open to entrepreneurs across Kildare is set to boost the number of 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.
The new Digital School of Food was piloted in the Dublin region in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland and
Bord Bia. Following the successful pilot, it is now available to those with an idea for a food business in
Kildare run by the Local Enterprise Offices.
The online programme is an e-learning initiative that brings producers from idea right through to start-up and grow stages.
The programme will give 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
Entrepreneurs who complete the Digital School of Food are then primed to move on to take part in Food
Starter programme offered by the Local Enterprise Offices and subsequently Food Academy, which gives
producers the opportunity to get their product on retail shelves.
Heather Humphreys, T.D., Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, commenting on the new
programme, said: “We have a proud heritage of producing world-class food in Ireland. Now, more than
ever, it is vital that we support our food firms and particularly budding entrepreneurs with ambitions to start
a new business. As needs have evolved, these programmes have evolved and the online Digital School of
Food is a testament to that. Aspiring food producers can now begin their journey from their own home.
The Local Enterprise Offices continue to innovate in the way that they are delivering programmes and this
is extremely significant now. They are playing a key role in helping our small businesses in this challenging
economic climate and they will be to the fore as small companies rise up in the coming weeks and
Jacqui McNabb, Head of Enterprise Kildare County Council said: "Irish food is renowned the world over and
we enjoy an enviable reputation for high quality food production. It is important that we continue to cultivate
new food entrepreneurs and start-ups, particularly during these challenging times. The Digital School of
Food is an excellent first step for anyone with an idea to establish a food production business.
It will help them mould that idea to bring it to the next stage. This is particularly significant now, with many potential entrepreneurs at home, they can access this programme from anywhere.
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. For more information on the Digital
School of Food go to www.DigitalSchoolofFood.ie
Kildare County Council’s Local Enterprise Office Covid-19 Response
Kildare County Council’s Local Enterprise Office have a suite of supports to help small businesses during
the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. These include the Business Continuity Voucher, which gives businesses
sector specific consultancy for their company to plan to deal with and recover from the current market
issues. The Trading Online Voucher helps companies to get their business online and establish a way of
selling their products to a wider network. The scheme has also been expanded to allow companies apply
for a second Trading Online Voucher if they have previously received one. Local Enterprise Offices are
also providing free business planning and mentoring to all small businesses affected by the Covid-19
pandemic. More information on all the supports can be found on localenterprise.ie/kildare
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