Ireland’s collective palate has expanded significantly in the past decade or so, to the point where telling someone you’re going for an Indian-infused burrito wouldn’t even cause an eyelid to bat.

This has resulted in a number of food start-ups popping up in the hope of putting their own culinary stamp on the island.

Now, a new initiative launched by the Dublin Food Chain and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in the Dublin region aims at attracting these start-ups for a new, free online course.

Called Digital School of Food, the online programme aims to give food entrepreneurs access to expert mentorship, including sound commercial guidance to help them get their products on to shelves. It also promises to give emerging food entrepreneurs and those beginning the food production process the practical support they need.

Avoiding pitfalls
“Setting up a new food business, of itself, can be relatively straightforward,” said Oisín Geoghegan, chair of the network of LEOs.

“However, growing that business to make it successful and sustainable in the long term presents a far greater and more complex series of challenges.”

He continued: “That is why we need to ensure that our food entrepreneurs are provided with the right mix of support services so that they can identify opportunities and avoid pitfalls.”

The organisers said that they will initially be offering the service to those in the Dublin region, but a national roll-out will follow at a later date.

The news comes a few months after another new entrepreneur programme was launched by the Government to provide food start-ups with an interactive video workshop.

Called the Food Starter Programme, the workshop offers case study reviews of existing food producers, stories and successful examples from recent years.

Colm Gorey

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