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.

To navigate the government supports available for SMEs please click HERE.

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.
  • The Local Enterprise Office also offers the Food Starter programme, a two day programme designed to help those with a food idea, or those at a very early stage of starting up a food business. 
  • 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:

  • Realising our Rural Potential, the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development, aims to unlock the enormous potential of Ireland’s rural communities to improve the lives of those living and working in rural areas. Through a framework of supports at national and local level, the Action Plan takes a coordinated approach across Government to both the economic and social development of rural Ireland. The Plan covers a three-year period and contains a series of time-bound actions which will be monitored and reported on regularly.

    The key objectives are to:
  • support sustainable and vibrant rural communities,
  • support enterprise and employment;
  • maximise our rural tourism and recreation potential;
  • foster culture and creativity in rural communities;
  • and improve rural infrastructure and connectivity.

    Visit www.ahrrga.gov.ie/rural/rural-development/ for further information.
  • 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:


  • Please follow link to a reference to a helpful set of posters from Safefood on food labelling in ROI.
  • Should you have any specific queries with regards to food labelling please direct them to the FSAI at info@fsai.ie
  • 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.


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