€25,000 Food Innovation Award

7 Oct 2010

The best food or drinks business idea in the south east will win a prize worth €25,000 via the Food Innovation Competition.

Sponsored by Bord Bia in association with the South-East County and City Enterprise Boards, the competition is aimed at encouraging a young or start-up food company to bring an innovative new idea to fruition.

The best proposal will win a prize amounting to €25,000. This will comprise €15,000 for consumer research and €10,000 for design, branding and packaging.

The competition is open to an existing food business or producer, or a new entrant to the sector, based in counties Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford, Carlow or Wexford.

The winning idea will be provided with a complete support service from their Enterprise Board, which will include:

  • Assistance in producing a business plan
  • A consultation with an intellectual property expert to advise on the protection of the idea
  • Advise on financing the business and grant aid information.

Anike Tyrrell, assistant CEO, Waterford County Enterprise Board, says the award aims to encourage individuals and companies to identify and exploit new opportunities in a food or drink business.

Suppliers to both the food service and retail sectors will be considered, as will those with innovative ideas for new packaging formats or innovative routes to market.

The agriculture and food industry plays an important role in the Irish economy, with the sector valued at more than €7bn, accounting for almost 9pc of employment and 10pc of exports. An estimated 65pc of manufacturing exports by Irish-owned firms consist of food and drink.

Tyrrell says an example of a new company in this sector which was given assistance by the Waterford County Enterprise Board is the Dungarvan Brewing Company, which went into production in April of this year.

“The aim of the South East’s Food Innovation Award is to encourage individuals to create new food products from this unusually rich and productive landscape and to take full advantage of the assistance that is available to help realise the idea.”

According to Helen King of Bord Bia, the Food Innovation competition is market-led and very much about consumer-focused innovation.

“We are delighted to support this competition because it recognises the importance of innovation in the foods industry. This is a great opportunity for us to work in partnership with Enterprise Boards and people on the ground.”

The winning proposal may also be eligible for a six-month programme developed by Enterprise Ireland in partnership with Musgrave Group and designed to help early-stage food companies to understand the requirements of large food retailers, enabling them to develop sustainable businesses.

The competition is open to:

  • Existing food businesses
  • Primary food producers and
  • New entrants to the sector.

Entries should include:

  • Details on the level of research on the idea to date
  • The potential market size for the idea
  • Where the idea differs to competitors
  • The estimated cost of bringing the product to market
  • How the idea will be financed
  • How the prize would be used.

Entries should be sent to Waterford County Enterprise Board by 15 November 2010.

An expert panel of judges will decide the winner, who will be announced on 13 December 2010.

Download an application form from here. Alternatively, call Waterford County Enterprise Board at 058 44811 or email waterfordceb@cablesurf.com.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic