Supporting Bodies

If you are a food producer, please take a look around this section of the site to see what supports might be available to you and what agencies are there to offer you support.


Local Enterprise Offices: 10 steps to starting your own food business

The Local Enterprise Offices also run a series of Start Your Own Food Business programmes.

Please contact your Local Enterprise Office for further information:
Local Enterprise Office Cork City: +353 (0) 21 496 1828
Local Enterprise Office South Cork: +353 (0) 21 497 5281
Local Enterprise Office Cork North & West:
Mallow Office +353 (0) 22 43235
Clonakilty Office +353 (0) 23 883 4700

University College Cork: Free legal advice from UCC for start-up food businesses
For more information click here


Bord Bia Research & Insights: Check out the research publication section of the Bord Bia website and study the latest research in your category

Bord Bia Reports on Irish and International Consumers: See what's trending in your product category with both Irish and international consumers

University College Cork,Teagasc Moorepark: Different product research facilities available in Ireland 

UK Options:This website features all the producers from multiple supermarkets in the UK. Look at UK supermarkets for your product category by clicking "start saving" to browse when you enter the site.


Supporting SMEs Online Tool: This online guide is to help Irish start-ups and small businesses navigate the range of Government supports to see which you could possibly apply for.

Bord Bia Consultancy Services: For SMEs, information on eligibility and how to apply.

Bord Bia Vantage: Information for early stage food businesses including financial, product development, distributor and export information.

Local Enterprise Offices Cork: Find your Local Enterprise Office here. They will provide you with advice, mentoring and possible grant assistance.

Bord Bia Brand Forum: The Bord Bia Brand Forum is a network which helps develop and grow the brands of Irish food & drink companies. Events are run quarterly and there is a membership fee.


Bord Bia Export Support: Information on exporting products.

Bord Bia Distribution Guide: A guide to distribution for food & drink producers in Ireland.

FSAI Imports & Exports:Includes information on foods of animal and non-animal origin, personal imports, plants and plant products, composite products.


Bord Bia Foodservice Directory:Full contact details for all major Irish Foodservice operators.


Innovation Vouchers:These are issued by Enterprise Ireland and are worth €5,000. They can be used to get technical support for your food business to help with lab testings, product challenges etc. You must be registered as a Ltd. company to qualify. Note: You will be liable for VAT on the services provided.

Linked Finance:Offering lending and borrowing options for small businesses.

Microfinance Ireland:Not-for-profit lender established to deliver Government's Microenterprise Loan Fund. Unsecured loans from €2,000 up to €25,000. Term from 3 to 5 years.

Crowdcube: Enable anyone to invest alongside professional investors in start-up, early stage and growth businesses through equity, debt and investment fund options.

Intertrade Ireland:Helps SMEs across Ireland by offering practical cross-border business funding, intelligence and contacts.


FSAI Food Legislation:A comprehensive list of food legislation in Ireland.

FSAI Starting a Food Business:Food hygiene and safety legislation relevant to all new food businesses and the steps to getting started - where to start and what you need to know.

FSAI Home Business or Food Stall:Food safety requirements for small home business and those taking a food stall to a market.

FSAI Guide to Food Law for Small Food Producers Starting a New Business:Information on the specific legislation that applies to small/artisan food producers.

FSAI Food Safety Training:Training resources, training guides and information on food safety training available for food businesses.

FSAI HACCP Information:Explaining the HACCP system and how to develop your food safety management system.

FSAI Safe Catering Pack:Information to help caterers implement their food safety management system.

FSAI Traceability and Recall:Information on traceability and recall systems for food businesses.

FSAI Guidance Note 10:Information on traceability, recall and withdrawal procedures.

FSAI Microbiological Criteria:Information on who it applies to and how to comply to ensure the production and sale of safe, high quality food products.

FSAI List of Approved Food Establishments:Approved establishments handling products of animal origin with links for each competent authority in the Republic of Ireland, for each EU Member State as well as links to a list of EU approved establishments in third countries (outside EU).


Resource Efficiency Action Plan: A handy online questionnaire to carry out an overview of the level of Resource Efficiency in your company. Based on your answers, you will receive an analysis and a table of actions for 'greening' your business.

Below is an overview of the various support bodies and agencies which assist and promote Cork food SME's on a local and international level. Many of these also offer a range of grant supports which may be applicable to your business

Bord Bia

The role of Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, is to act as a link between Irish Food, Drink & Horticulture suppliers and existing and potential customers throughout the world. This is achieved through core services delivered to the customer, the trade buyer, and to Irish food & drink companies themselves.

Services include promotional programmes to support marketing activities, participation at major trade exhibitions, information services and development programmes.

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. The organisation works in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales on global markets. Services include funding supports, export assistance, supports to develop competitiveness, incentives to stimulate R&D, connections and introductions to oversees contacts.

Local Enterprise Offices Cork

The Local Enterprise Offices in Cork promote and encourage local enterprise development in Cork County & City. The Offices have an enterprise development function for the small to medium sized business sector employing up to ten employees involved in manufacturing, processing, or internationally traded services within their catchment areas. Their services include:
Business Information and Advice

  • Mentoring
  • Training
  • Networking Programmes
  • Exhibition Opportunities
  • Start Your Own Business Advice
  • New Business Grants and Business Expansion Grants

Cork County Council

The Property Management/Development Section of Cork County Council supports the development of the industrial and commercial infrastructure of Cork County. They provide fully serviced industrial sites and business parks, and offer strategic sites for large-scale multinational investment. They let and manage incubator units and develop environmental industrial parks to encourage and assist in the highest environmental standards and practices in industry.

The Council also organises EU activities, such as trade events for indigenous companies in order to assist businesses to gain marketing exposure, support them in the pursuit of contract opportunities, and have access to exchange of knowledge and expertise in a European dimension.

Cork City Council

Cork City Council is a public service organisation that is responsible for providing a diverse range of services to the people of Cork City. The Council works with appropriate agencies in order to maximize the sustainable economic development of Cork City and to promote the City locally and internationally.


Teagasc is the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland. Its mission is to support science-based innovation in the agri-food sector and the broader bioeconomy that will underpin profitability, competitiveness and sustainability. It provides integrated research, advisory and training services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities. Teagasc has a Development Centre, Food Research Centre, Agricultural Research Centre and thirteen local advisory offices located in Cork County.


South and East Cork Area Development Ltd. (SECAD) is an integrated development company that is responsible for the delivery of the Rural Development (LEADER) programme 2007-2013 in the Cork harbour area. SECAD's services include training and mentoring, networking, marketing and funding opportunities along with a range of other community and social inclusion programmes and initiatives.

LEADER group - Avondhu Blackwater Partnership

Avondhu Blackwater Partnership is the integrated LEADER Partnership Company for North County Cork responsible for the delivery of the Rural Development (LEADER) programme 2007-2013 in the area. Services include training, networking, marketing and funding opportunities along with a range of other community and social inclusion programmes and initiatives.

LEADER group - West Cork Development Partnership

West Cork Development Partnership is the local development company responsible for the delivery of the Rural Development (LEADER) programme 2007-2013 in the West Cork area. Services include training, networking, marketing and funding opportunities along with a range of other community and social inclusion programmes and initiatives. WCDP also supports 'Fuschia', the regional brand for food, tourism and craft from West Cork and the promotion of food tourism within the West Cork Area.

LEADER Group - Ballyhoura Development

Ballyhoura Development is the local development company responsible for the delivery of the Rural Development (LEADER) programme 2007-2013 in East County Limerick and North East County Cork. Ballyhoura Development provides training, marketing and capital supports to new and established businesses in a wide variety of business sectors. They also provide funding supports and a mentor/advisory service.

LEADER Group - I.R.D. Duhallow

IRD Duhallow is a community-based integrated rural development company responsible for the delivery of the Rural Development (LEADER) programme 2007-2013 in North West Cork and South East Kerry. The company combines the efforts and resources of the State Bodies, Local Authorities, Local Communities and individual entrepreneurs for the benefit of the local areas. The main objective of IRD Duhallow is to establish and to support initiatives directed towards the generation of enterprise for the benefit and welfare of communities in Duhallow who may be deprived due to rural population, immigration, lack of training, economic deprivation or poor infrastructure.

Udaras Na Gaeltachta

Udaras na Gaeltachta is the regional development agency responsible for the economic, social and cultural development of the Gaeltacht. Services include business start-up support, training, financial assistance, premises location assistance, research and development grants, employment grants and marketing grants.

Good Food Ireland

Good Food Ireland is an organization which drives and promotes the Irish Food Tourism Industry in particular artisan and local food of the highest quality. It is the only industry group with an all-island food tourism strategy. Good Food Ireland provides business benefit for the membership through its framework which allows them to penetrate from local community to the global market and vice versa.

It co-operatively markets its membership network and the people behind the food to the international and domestic tourist so as to drive Ireland forward as a food tourism destination. Services include co-operative marketing, annual awards, conferences and networking opportunities.


IBEC is the national voice of business and employers and is the umbrella body for Ireland's leading sector groups and associations. IBEC dedicates itself to promoting and encouraging leadership, innovation, research, excellence and professionalism in carrying out its role as the representative voice of business, and in the delivery of member services. IBEC also provides a number of employer services and business training, events , networking opportunities and conferences. Food and Drink Industry Ireland is the main food related association which comes under the umbrella of IBEC.

Food & Drink Industry Ireland

Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII) is the main trade association for the food and drink industry in Ireland. It represents the interests of over 150 food, drink and non-food grocery manufacturers and suppliers in three main categories: Consumer Foods, Dairy and Meat. FDII provides leadership and direction on a number of key strategic issues, including the economic importance of the sector, competitiveness, research & development, trade, skills and education.

SFA - Small Firms Association

The Small Firms Association (SFA) is the national organisation representing small enterprises (i.e. those employing less than 50 employees) in Ireland. The SFA is funded directly through subscription fees from its 8,000 member companies. It directly meets government at the table and interacts with key decision-makers at all levels to ensure that the economic environment is conducive to small business establishment and development. The SFA provides dedicated professional support and a range of services including economic, commercial, employee relations and social affairs advice and assistance.

It also provides training, seminars, networking opportunities and access to research and industry information.

Cork CIT

CIT has a number of regional initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the region. These include hands-on practical training programmes and the purpose built incubation centre, the Rubicon. Cork CIT also administers the Genesis Enterprise Programme in partnership with University College Cork, Enterprise Ireland, the 4 Enterprise Boards (Cork City, Cork North, South Cork, West Cork), ódarás Na Gaeltachta, and Cork BIC The focus of the Genesis Enterprise Programme is to provide a package of supports to entrepreneurs in the South West Region in accelerating the development of their business.

Cork BIC

CORKBIC is a leading interdisciplinary venture consultancy in the South West of Ireland. The company provides an integrated process for incubating and growing high potential technology driven companies. CORKBIC identifies, selects and develops about 12 higher potential startups per year and works as a hands-on catalyst or project developer in infrastructure gap initiatives. Services also include business planning and marketing assistance, Market Research, Financial Engineering, Strategy Development, Business Skills Development, FastTrack to Market Program and IT/Electronics expertise.


Skillnets is a state funded, enterprise-led support body dedicated to the promotion and facilitation of training and upskilling as key elements in sustaining Ireland's national competitiveness. The body supports and funds networks of enterprises to engage in training under the Training Networks Programme (TNP). These networks, now referred to as 'Skillnets', are led and managed by the enterprises themselves to design, manage and deliver specific training programmes across a broad range of industry and service sectors nationwide. BizNet Cork is the Cork-based network which delivers business training and upskilling programmes locally.

Failte Ireland

Discover Ireland Food-Trails

Failte Ireland is the National Tourism Development Authority. They provide strategic and practical support to develop and sustain Ireland as a high-quality and competitive tourist destination. They work with the tourism industry in areas including business support, enterprise development, training and education, research, marketing and regional development.

Fáilte Ireland works in partnership with Tourism Ireland (who promote Ireland as a holiday destination to overseas markets) and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (responsible for tourism development and marketing in Northern Ireland). They also lead an extensive domestic holiday campaign via, which features comprehensive information and listings for Irish accommodation, activities, events, tourist attractions and Irish holiday special offers. Both Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland are involved in the development of Food Tourism and Food Trails.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM)

BIM, established under the Sea Fisheries Act 1952, is the Irish State agency responsible for developing the Irish seafood industry. BIM's mission is to develop the Irish seafood sector by adding value, driving growth, increasing competitiveness and creating jobs. The agency provides technical expertise, business support, funding and training and promotes responsible environmental practices. Technology experts advise on new fishing and fish farming opportunities using technical innovation. Business development advisors assist with product development, improving processes efficiency, adding value through product labelling and setting up food safety systems. Training is also provided in fishing, fish farming, seafood processing and safety courses necessary for obtaining a Basic Safety Training card.

BIM - Seafood Development Centre

BIM's Seafood Development Centre (SDC) offers seafood businesses the opportunity to test and trial innovative product and process ideas before committing to full commercialisation and capital investment costs. The SDC is integrated with BIM's business planning services to ensure Irish seafood companies are provided with all necessary business development and innovation services. Facilities at the state-of-the-art centre include product processing, graduate area, product development kitchen, innovation & product concept room, two business incubation units, reception and administration. Assistance is given with developing and testing the new product, costing, packaging, processing methods and product preparation, business and market planning, identifying the best route to market and advice on grants and schemes. The SDC also runs a specialist seafood graduate programme, connecting final year students of food technology and related disciplines, with seafood companies developing new products.

University College Cork

UCC Food Industry Training Unit:

The School of Food and Nutritional Sciences is internationally recognized for its leadership in teaching and research. The Department offers a range of food-related Undergraduate and Post-Graduate programmes along with an extensive research programme.

In recognition of the growing importance of continuing professional education and training in the food and related industries University College Cork established a Food Industry Training Unit (FITU) in the Faculty of Food Science and Technology in 1993. The objective of FITU is to coordinate policy and activities associated with the research, training, continuing education and professional development needs of those at work in the food industry. The Food Industry Training Unit works in close association with FÁS, Enterprise Ireland, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the Food Safety Promotion Board, CAIS, the Local Authority Veterinary Service, the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and Teagasc.

Cork Chamber of Commerce

Cork Chamber is the leading business organisation for the promotion, development and expansion of economic and commercial activity in the Cork Region. It is a membership organization which provides PR, marketing and networking opportunities to its members and represents member businesses on critical business issues, through a collective lobbying voice. Cork Chamber manages two training networks, BiznetCork Skillnet and Munster Finuas Network, both of whom are funded by Skillsnet Ltd, through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, and member company contributions.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

The primary role of the Department of Agriculture Food and Forestry is the development of a competitive innovative and market orientated agriculture and food industry based on the production of top quality wholesome products. The Department is also commited to the expansion of the forestry industry and to the creation of an enterprise culture in rural areas.

The Department's primary functions include:
  • Operation and implementation of EU regulated income and price support schemes and measures in the livestock and arable sectors
  • EU market support payments to the food and associated industries
  • Supporting research development and training in the food industry
  • Payment of aid towards investment in farm improvement and alternative enterprises
  • Payment of aid for early farm retirement environmental protection and forestry development
  • Operation of structural support headage payments for farmers in Disadvantaged Areas
  • Operation of schemes with farmers to control and eliminate animal disease
  • Provision of finance for and over-seeing the activities of eight State Bodies reporting to the Department Support of rural development measures under a number of EU financed schemes including LEADER
Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI)

The principal function of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is to take all reasonable steps to ensure that food produced, distributed or marketed in the State meets the highest standards of food safety and hygiene reasonably available. The FSAI aims to ensure that food complies with legal requirements, or where appropriate with recognised codes of good practice.

Key functions of the Authority include:
  • Putting consumer interests first and foremost
  • Providing advice to Ministers, regulators, the food industry and consumers on food safety issues
  • Ensuring the co-ordinated and seamless delivery of food safety services to an agreed high standard by the various state agencies involved
  • Ensuring that food complies with legal requirements, or where appropriate, with recognised codes of good practice
  • Working with the food industry to gain their commitment in the production of safe food
  • Setting food standards based on sound science and risk assessment
  • Risk management in association with frontline agencies and the food sector, and communicating risks to consumers, public health professionals and the food industry.

FSAI provides a range of Food Safety training programmes and advice to new and established food businesses on areas such as legislation, nutrition, science and health.

InterTrade Ireland

InterTradeIreland is the only organisation which supports SMEs across the island to develop North/South trade and business development opportunities for the mutual benefit of both economies. They encourage better use of collective resources to accelerate trade and business growth across the island and create an environment where it is easier to do business. This is achieved through co-operative business, policy and research programmes, partnerships and networks.

Programmes available offer companies funding and expertise to help them export North/South and develop their products, processes, services and markets and raise venture capital. The organisation conducts research to identify barriers to doing business across the island and identifies solutions to obstacles in cross-border infrastructure, planning, transport, energy, skills and regulation - making recommendations to both Governments on how they can be overcome.

South West Regional Development Authority

The South West Regional Authority is a statutory public body with responsibility for strategic planning in the Cork/Kerry region. The authority also makes recommendations on government investment programmes and monitors and reviews the operation of the National Development Plan.

The South West Regional Authority has twenty four elected representatives and has responsibility for strategic planning and the promotion of the coordinated delivery of public services in the region. The Authority also advises the Irish Government on developmental issues, contributes to the preparation of the National Development Plan and other strategic matters. It also has responsibility for the monitoring of the European Community Support Framework, in this regard the Authority participates as a member of various monitoring committees in respect of the regional and national operational programmes. The SWRA delivers a range of projects locally including projects targeting the development of entrepreneurship and�enterprise.


The Rubicon Centre is Ireland's premier Business Incubation Centre and is located on campus in the Cork Institute of Technology. Home to 57 knowledge based start-up companies, the Centre is jointly financed by CIT & Enterprise Ireland. Clients based at the Rubicon are at different stages of development, from concept stage to completing their first customer orders and many are already trading on the International Market.

The Centre's role as an incubator is to assist the formation and growth of early stage, knowledge intensive businesses, by providing physical space & in-house management support, along with access to advice and on support from Institute resources. The Centre aims to stimulate an environment of creativity and innovation with a continual focus of nurturing the growth of knowledge based business and commercial research in the South West The Genesis Enterprise Programme,, operated by Cork Institute of Technology in partnership with Enterprise Ireland, is located at the Centre. This programme offers a package of supports to entrepreneurs during their first 12 months of operation.


IGNITE is an incubation initiative based in University College Cork in collaboration with the Cork County and City Enterprise Boards. It is supported by Cork County Council, the International Centre for Graduate Education in Micro & Nano Engineering - ICGEE, the Integrated NanoScience Platform for Ireland - INSPIRE, Cork Chamber, EMC, PFH, IBS, CorkBIC and the entrepreneur community.

IGNITE is a 9-month programme which offers graduates of any discipline including the Arts & Humanities, Food Science, Engineering, Life Sciences, Computer Science, etc, from any 3rd level institution the opportunity to turn innovative ideas into new products and services. IGNITE provides:

  • Business incubation space in state of the art facility for 9 months
  • A comprehensive Start Your Own Business programme
  • Business Planning, Finance, Legal, Marketing, Sales, People Management, Product Development and Venture Capital training
  • Business Mentoring
  • Access to entrepreneurial "Coaches on Campus"
  • Regular networking events
  • Enterprise support and advice through a series of half-day clinic
  • Access to UCC's academic, research and commercialisation expertise
  • Location in a multidisciplinary campus with access to the university's information resources and library
  • Membership of Cork Chamber


Slow Food is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people's dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how food choices affect the rest of the world. The organisation is founded upon the concept of eco-gastronomy - a recognition of the strong connections between plate and planet. Slow Food is organised by local groups called Convivia. It is an entirely voluntary umbrella group that co-ordinates such things as the provision of information, membership campaigns and publicity, as well as supporting a number of nationwide initiatives, such as Edible School Gardens, information about local food, access to local food and opportunities to enjoy local food in the company of others who share their concern.

The Irish Hotels Federation

Founded in 1937, the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) is the national organisation of the hotel and guesthouse industry in Ireland. The primary functions of the Federation are to promote and defend the interests of its members. The IHF represents almost 1,000 hotels and guesthouses nationwide, employing over 57,000 people and is a key stakeholder in the Irish tourism sector.

Euro-toques Ireland

Euro-toques, the European Community of Cooks, is a pan-European organisation representing over 3,500 chefs and cooks, with national branches in many European countries. The initiative stemmed from concerns about a potential threat to culinary traditions and food quality in the face of increasing European legislation and open Euro-toques Ireland was established in 1986, by Myrtle Allen of Ballymaloe House in Cork. Today the membership is made up of about180 chefs; most of them active in restaurant kitchens, some in catering and consultancy, others engaged in teaching; who support the philosophy of sourcing top quality local and seasonal food ingredients to serve to their customers, therefore delivering foods of flavour, authenticity and provenance.

Euro-toques Ireland is a non-profit organisation, financed by membership subscriptions and sponsorship from a number of selected companies and related bodies. Central to their activities is education, in particular at Primary school level, to inspire passion for food in children and encourage healthy eating, and with both trainee and industry chefs to promote quality food sourcing and encourage high standards in the industry. The group's policy and lobbying activities centre on protecting and promoting quality food producers, in particular small, local, artisan and traditional producers.

Tourism Ireland

Tourism Ireland was established under the framework of the Belfast Agreement of Good Friday 1998. They are jointly funded by the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive on a two to one ratio, and operate under the auspices of the North/South Ministerial Council through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland and the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport in the South. Tourism Ireland works with the two tourist boards on the island, Fáilte Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, who are responsible for product and enterprise development and marketing to tourism consumers within the island of Tourism Ireland's role is to grow overseas tourism revenue and visitor numbers to the island of Ireland, and to help Northern Ireland to realise its tourism potential. It devises and delivers world-class marketing programmes

in over 20 markets across the world and works in close co-operation with industry partners on the island of Ireland as well as with the travel trade, online operators, media, air and sea carriers overseas. They also help to influence product development on the island, by sharing insights on global tourism trends and the changing need of overseas consumers with other tourism agencies, particularly with Fáilte Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and with industry partners.

Irish Farmer's Association

The Irish Farmer's Association is a membership organization representing Irish Farmers on a national and international level. The IFA has a mass membership with over 87.000 farmers contributing to the Association. The IFA identifies issues facing farmers and formulates policy and strategy to deal with challenges. There are 11 Commodity Committees charged with the responsibility of pursuing the interests of farmers in each sector, namely Livestock, Dairy, Liquid Milk, Sheep, Pigs, Poultry, Grain, Potato, Farm Forestry, Horticulture and Mushrooms. Each Commodity Committee constantly monitors all relevant markets to ensure that producers are equipped with the best market intelligence to bargain with processors and maximise product returns.

IFA also has 4 Cross-Sectoral Committees - Rural Development & Less Favoured Areas, Environment, Farm Business, and Farm Family & Social Affairs - which are responsible for advancing and protecting farmers' interests in the major non-commodity areas such as farm investment grants, REPS/AEOS, environmental regulations, taxation, credit, farm safety, spouses' pensions, etc.

Irish Exporters Association

The IEA represents businesses within the export industry to ensure that the necessary conditions are created and the necessary support is provided to assist companies to maximise their export sales. The IEA draws its membership from every exporting sector, ensuring that the interests of all industries are represented and promoted at the highest level.

The Association provides:
  • Export Advice & Assistance Visa & Legalisation Services
  • Regular Export Related Information
  • Representation of members by lobbying Government
  • Promoting members through IEA publications & Studies
  • "First Query Legal Advice" Service
  • Consultancy Programmes & Support for Developing Business