Food and drink producers from Laois are being invited to join the Food Academy programme.
This initiative, which is run by Laois Enterprise Office, has seen successful local companies such as Ballykilcavan Brewery, Le Skinny Chef, Flavour Safari and 12 acres Brewing Company take part in the past.
Now in its eighth-year, Food Academy is a unique food business development programme between the 31 Local Enterprise Offices, including Local Enterprise Office Laois, SuperValu and Bord Bia.
Participants in the programme receive training in food safety, market research and branding, marketing, finance, sustainability and business development.
The Food Academy programme currently supports 290 Irish food and drink producers including 140 female entrepreneurs, generating €170m in sales.
In 2020, there was a 15% growth in SuperValu Food Academy sales with participants earning €28m.
The Food Academy programme supports 1,500 jobs in local communities nationwide and local producers are now being encouraged to apply for the 2021 programme before Friday, April 23.
Welcoming the increase in Food Academy sales through SuperValu in 2020, Evelyn Reddin, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Laois said: “Since it was started up eight years ago by the Local Enterprise Offices, SuperValu and Bord Bia, the Food Academy programme has been hugely successful, going from strength to strength.
“It has helped hundreds of up-and-coming food and drink producers to get their products market-ready, giving them an opportunity to sell to a nationwide audience.
“The Food Academy is part of a suite of Local Enterprise Office supports designed for food and drink entrepreneurs in Ireland, such as the Digital School of Food and Food Starter programmes, both aimed at getting those with food ideas off the ground.
“As local food and drink producers grow their sales through these programmes, Local Enterprise Office Laois is on hand to support their expansion plans through further training, mentoring and financial assistance.”
The Food Academy Programme is now open for applications and the subsidised cost to participate is €200 per company.
To apply, interested food and drink producers from Laois are encouraged to contact Local Enterprise Office Laois for an application form by e-mailing email@example.com or by visiting LocalEnterprise.ie/laois