Big food firms to offer their expertise

SUCCESSFUL Irish food companies will share their expertise with a new generation of entrepreneurs in a mentoring initiative unveiled yesterday.

Global food and drink groups such as Glanbia, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Kepak, Bulmers and Kraft have signed up for the initiative, launched at Bord Bia’s Small Business Open Day, a workshop event bringing together more than 120 food companies in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin.

The companies will offer their experience to small food firms in business strategy, account management and logistics. The mentoring programme will be coordinated by Bord Bia and Food and Drink Industry Ireland.

Bord Bia chief executive Aidan Cotter said: “This initiative will help nurture and further develop Ireland’s speciality food companies. Small food and drink businesses are important contributors to the recovery and future prosperity of the Irish economy.

“Their survival and growth does not only bring investment returns for individual businesses, it also underpins the wider local community and the image of Ireland as a provider of high quality, innovative and sustainable food excellence.”

Bord Bia’s director of food and beverages, Tara McCarthy, explained that participant companies will first receive training to ensure they extract maximum value from their four-hour one-to-one sessions with the mentors during the three-month programme.

Attendees completed detail forms which will ensure that they are matched with a relevant mentor.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, said: “The sharing of experiential learning is hugely beneficial and I’d like to encourage all small companies to avail of this invaluable guidance, insight and advice.”

Bord Bia aids over 400 small food businesses, with an annual turnover of €400 million.

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