Looking to Start a Food Business?

There are many supports and services for individuals and entrepreneurs looking to start a food business in Ireland.

We have provided a brief summary of the who’s who from state agencies, legal and regulatory bodies to sources of consumer and market research.

Initial Information, Assistance and Advice for Entrepreneurs:

State Agencies:

  • Your first point of call should be your Local Enterprise Office (LEO) for advice, mentoring, business plans and training programmes tailored to start-up businesses. You will also find details of the Food Academy Programme at your Local Enterprise Office.
  • Enterprise Ireland encourages and supports new High Potential Start-Up businesses (HPSUs). The main criteria for EI is >10 employees and companies either already exporting or planning to within a short period of time with turnover in excess of €1m. Please see the resourcing your business section on guidance to seeking funding, mentoring, advice and training as well as grant aid from EI.
  • Teagasc offers training courses at the Ashtown Food Research Centre in Dublin and the Dairy Products Research Centre in Fermoy, County Cork, aimed at strengthening in-company capabilities in quality systems, food safety and hygiene, food technology and product development and marketing.
  • BIM helps to develop the Irish seafood industry by providing technical expertise, business support, funding, training and promoting responsible environmental practice.

Rural/Regional Development Agencies:

  • The Rural Development Programme is designed to target resources to support improvements in the quality of life in rural areas and the diversification and development of the rural economy and is administered by the following.  Visit www.nrn.ie for further information.
    • LEADER Partnerships
    • Local Development Partnerships
    • Local Development Companies
  • Údarás na Gaeltachta – Provision of financial and non-financial assistance in the Gaeltacht regions.
  • Shannon Development – Regional development agency responsible for development in the Shannon Region (Limerick, Clare, North Tipperary, South West Offaly and North Kerry).
  • Western Development Commission – The WDC is a statutory body promoting economic and social development in counties Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare.
  • Skillnets is a state-funded, enterprise-led support body dedicated to the promotion and facilitation of training and upskilling.

Quality/Food Safety:

Incubation Units:


  • GS1 for licensing, costs and formatting of barcodes – essential for the retail market.


  • The Irish Patent Office – You need to run a search for your brand name and advice on registering it in Ireland and/or the EU with both the Irish Patent Office for Ireland only Trademarks and the European Trademark Office for Community Trademarks (CTMs) which cover all 27 EU countries including Ireland. See the <Legal Issues> section for more details.


  • IEDR (IE Domain Registry) for Irish domain names is an independent not-for-profit organisation that manages the .i.e. country code Top Level Domain namespace.
  • The Irish Internet Association (IIA) is a good resource for a search for web developers and Internet Service Providers.
  • Media Contact – for a directory of contacts in the media for PR campaigns published annually and available online by the Public Relations Institute of Ireland.
  • Data Protection Commissioner – check for updates on the use of phone numbers, email addresses and online social networking in marketing.


  • InterTradeIreland (ITI) is the business development body, promoting North-South trade by building business capability and competitiveness.