Business Irish

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Do you have what it takes to enter the Lion's Den? Ireland's top food startups battle it out

(L-R) Pat Rigney - Shed Distillery, Alison Cowzer, The Company of Food, Eamonn Quinn, Noreen Doyle - Irish Biltong Company, Joe Barrett - Applegreen & Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine
(L-R) Pat Rigney - Shed Distillery, Alison Cowzer, The Company of Food, Eamonn Quinn, Noreen Doyle - Irish Biltong Company, Joe Barrett - Applegreen & Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Five leading food startups will have the opportunity to battle it out in front of a panel of well known business leaders at this year's National Food and Drink Conference.

The 'Lion's Den' competition, which takes place for the second year running, is offering a top prize worth over €5,000 at the event next month.

All export ready food startups are welcome to enter, fighting for a chance to increase their international exposure, with a free exhibition stand at the International Food Exhibition (IFE) in London next March up for grabs.

The IFE attracts over 30,000 key food and drink buyers from 108 countries, and the winning firm will also receive €1,500 cash for expenses.

The National Food and Drink Conference and Exhibition is the largest gathering of food industry professionals in Ireland - and takes place on the 13th September in the Citywest Convention Centre, Dublin.

The top five chosen firms will each be given ten minutes to impress the panel of judges which include co-founder of Applegreen Joe Barrett, Dragon's Den investor Alison Cowzer, co-founder of Freshly Chopped Brian Lee and Cully & Sully's Colm O'Sullivan.

CEO of Irish Biltong Company Noreen Doyle said winning the competition last year "totally transformed our business by gaining placements in some of Europe’s largest retailers".

Some 3,000 food industry professionals, 200 speakers and 170 exhibitors will attend this year's National Food and Drink Conference and Exhibition to discuss the key issues facing the food industry.

Colin Murphy, Organiser, National Food and Drink Conference and Exhibition said that Brexit will be a dominant theme at the conference this year.

"This is an important event for the food industry in Ireland. It’s taking place at a time when there is a significant amount of apprehension ahead of Brexit," he said.

"The food industry in Ireland alone accounts for 230,000 jobs and contributes €25bn to the economy and Britain is a major part of that success. At the moment it’s not business as usual as businesses on both sides of the border are left in limbo until we know what happens next."

Firms who believe they have what it takes to enter the Lion’s Den can sign up at lionsden.ie.

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