Kildare Food Network Targets Fresh Growth For Food Entrepreneurs

Kildare Food Network Targets Fresh Growth For Food Entrepreneurs

Calling all FOODIES! LEO Kildare has announced the launch of the Kildare Food Chain Network

As part of an ongoing effort to harness the power of the 'collective'', and to ensure that Kildare's unique food heritage benefits from the attention it deserves, LEO Kildare has announced the launch of the Kildare Food Chain Network

Throughout the county, a diverse selection of crucial food training and food marketing initiatives are coming underway.

Now, through the Kildare Food Chain brand, these programmes can enjoy better linkages and cross-promotion.

"Whether, it is through training, networking or collective marketing, export-driven opportunities, the aim is to work together towards promoting and expanding our valuable food sector," explains Jacqui McNabb, Head of Enterprise, ..."With the support of local consumers, trade buyers and food producers (combined with sponsorship and support from Bord Bia), we endeavour to continuously champion and encourage the flourishing Kildare food sector."

Ultimately, the goal of the Kildare Food Chain is to help the county nurture its enviable status as an iconic food brand.

Who should join the food network?

  • Food and drink producers, retailers and distributors.
  • Foodservice, cafés, delis, restaurants and bars, keen to support and use locally-sourced Kildare food ingredients.
  • Food sector suppliers: ingredients, packaging, services, equipment...etc.
  • Anyone or any business in the Kildare food sector that is passionate about supporting and developing local food and agri-business.

Joining is free and simple. Call or email LEO Kildare / 045 980 838 or visit 

In tandem to this, a new food entrepreneur programme, launched by Minster for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, T.D., is aimed at attracting more new Irish food start-ups to the market.  The Food Starter Programme, which will be run by Local Enterprise Office Kildare in conjunction with Bord Bia, will give emerging food entrepreneurs our county, and those who want to begin their food production journey, practical support to bring their idea or product to life.

Announcing this new Food Starter Programme, Minster for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, T.D., said; "The new Food Starter Programme by our network of Local Enterprise Offices and Bord Bia is another example of giving Irish food entrepreneurs the opportunity to shine.  Our food business industry is one of the finest in the world but we must continue to foster the next generation of food start-ups.  We have an estimated 250 emerging new food entrepreneurs annually in Ireland and with the Food Starter Programme we hope to increase that number and give these entrepreneurs the access to the right guidance and mentoring to help them get their products onto shelves."

Eileen Bentley, Senior Marketing Strategy Manager, Bord Bia, said: "Bord Bia is all too aware of the steep learning curve faced by new food businesses and our aim with the Food Starter programme was to use our food expertise to develop the capability of participating food entrepreneurs to help ensure their long-term viability.  The two-day Food Starter programme has been devised to ensure that new producers get the right start, encompassing best practice and tips from other food producers and essential learnings in areas such as   marketing, routes to market, food safety and managing finance.  Emerging and innovative food producers are a crucial component of Ireland’s rich food and drink industry and at fledgling stage they need specialised support at local level which this new programme will deliver."

The programme is set out in an interactive workshop format which will include case study reviews of food producers, video stories, and successful producers sharing their learnings, break out exercises and preparation for the next generation of food entrepreneur to navigate their journey successfully.  Many of those who complete the Food Starter Programme will then move on to the Food Academy programme, where they will get the opportunity to bring their products to the shelf. 

LEO Kildare has significant plans to nuture and accelerate the food sector in our county, both nationally and internationally. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of that growth and to have your say to shape the food and agri sectors.

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