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Friday 26th Mar 2021

The Food Exchange Ireland: Start and grow a food or drink business

The Food Exchange Ireland: Start and grow a food or drink business

Date:Friday 26th Mar 2021
Time:10:00 - 16:00

The Food Exchange Ireland by Enterprise Nation

If you're looking to start or grow a food or drink business, this online event is for you! Industry experts and successful entrepreneurs will be on hand to provide top tips for growing a great brand and buyers will share how you can pitch your products.

You will enjoy a full day programme of business advice and four attendees will have opportunity to pitch live to a buyer on stage. Exchange events put you in touch with large brand buyers looking for products just like yours. You can apply to pitch here


10.00am: Welcome to the Food Exchange 

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, will welcome you to the Food Exchange and share details of the day ahead! 

10.05am: How I got stocked in all the major UK supermarkets - John Stapleton

John Stapleton is the founder of New Covent Garden Soup Co and Little Dish. He is now a mentor to Food Works Ireland. In this session, John will share how he got his products stocked in all the major UK supermarkets and will share tips for growing a successful food business. 

10.40am: Survive or Thrive? What's your approach in 2021?

GS1 Ireland launch research into how food and drink businesses are responding to the opportunities and challenges of Brexit, eCommerce and sustainability. 

11.10am: How to master social media

Buyers will look at your traction on social channels as part of the pitch process. This session from social media expert, Melanie Boylan, will show you how to present your brand and engage with customers on the major social channels. 

11.40am: Break

Top up your coffee, check out the booths in the exhibition, or head over to the networking zone to meet like-minded founders!

12.00pm: The eight pillars of a successful food brand

Conor Hyde is Founder of Bullseye - a world-class provider of marketing, training and specialist business development solutions custom-built for the food and drink sector. In this session, Connor will talk you through the eight pillars of a successful food brand. 

12.30pm: Support programmes for food and drink businesses in Ireland

In this panel session, hear the support available to you as a food and drink business owner in Ireland.

  • Tomas Hayes,, Chair of Local Enterprise Offices Food Committee 
  • Nicola Nic Phaidin, Food High Potential StartUp programme, Enterprise Ireland 

1.00pm: Lunch

If all the talk of food is making you hungry, head off to have a lunch break, explore the exhibition zone and chat with other attendees in the networking area. 

2.00pm: How to raise funds for your food and drink business

Hear how you can raise money to fund your business growth. 

  • Stephen Twaddell - from heading up Kellog's in Europe, Stephen is now an angel investor in food and drink businesses, Chairman of Wicklow Wolf Brewing Company, and food and drink lead of Halo Business Angels Network
  • Ray Ryan, Sage Business Partner
  • Bank funding

2.30pm: Meet the Buyer: Sodexo  

Aoife Wycheley is Head of Procurement for Sodexo subsidiary, PSL, a leader in fresh food procurement in the UK.  PSL supplies the hotel industry and has high-profile customers including 5* hotels like The Lanesborough in London and the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard, along with chains like Radisson Hotel Group, Marriott Group and Jurys Inn. Hear how you can pitch your products to Sodexo, what they're looking for in a brand and how to get your products stocked in hotels across the world. 

2.45pm: Live pitching to buyers

Four attendees will conduct a live pitch to the Sodexo buyer live via webcam. You can apply to pitch your products to Aoife live at the event here

3.10pm: Networking

Check out the booths in the exhibition or head over to the networking zone to meet like-minded founders!

4.30pm: Event ends

About Enterprise Nation

Enterprise Nation is the UK's most active small business network, helping thousands of people turn their good idea into a great business. Join today to get everything you need to start and grow your small business, in one place.

If you have any questions, please email

Since launching in 2005, the Enterprise Nation team has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder Emma Jones MBE, Enterprise Nation continues to be the most active UK small business community and a leading campaigning voice for small business. Joining Enterprise Nation connects you with resources, community and connections you need to reach your business goals.