Thirty Laois food businesses to get free expert training and mentoring

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

Thirty Laois food businesses to get free training mentoring in new REDZ funded project

Launching Connect 2 Laois for Food: Anne Goodwin Laois Partnership, Liz Kennedy co-ordinator, John Mulholland CEO, Cathaoirleach Padraig Fleming, Evelyn Reddin Laois LEO & Kieran Kehoe. Pic M Scully

Thirty Laois Food businesses are being offered the opportunity to get specialist training and mentoring to grow their businesses.

Connect 2 Laois for Food is a new collaborative project between Laois County Council, the Local Enterprise Office and Laois Partnership.

It will offer a programme of market led innovation, best practice transfer and product and service development. It aims to create a synergy between the food sector and support agencies in the county that will aid their development growth and sustainability.

Connect 2 Laois for Food is aimed at start-up and established businesses in Laois.

James Burke & Associates, Ireland's leading Food Consultants and Retail Advisors, have been recruited to deliver the programme which is funded under the Rural Economic Development Zone (REDZ) Initiative through the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Speaking at the launch of the programme, Cathaoirleach Padraig Fleming MCC stated ‘the Connect 2 Laois for Food programme responds to the need to progress enterprises in the food sector in the County’.

John Mulholland is Chief Executive of Laois County Council.

"While many of the targeted businesses have ideas for future development, there is a clear need to facilitate innovation and product development, new skills development and competitive positioning allowing them to scale up and create further employment opportunities," he said.

Anne Goodwin is CE of Laois Partnership Company.

"In creating an awareness of best practice activities and enabling participants to see their enterprises in new ways, it is envisaged that these 30 enterprises will become more progressive in their development," she said.

Evelyn Reddin is Head of Enterprise with the Local Enterprise Office.

"This multi facet programme involving specialist training and mentoring support, accessing best practice and building new contacts, networks, businesses, entrepreneurs will help to strongly position the Laois food sector on a national and international scale," she said.

An information session will be held on Wednesday August 9 at 3.30pm in the Midlands Park Hotel

Portlaoise, with the programme commencing in September.

Anyone interested in participating in the programme should contact Liz Kennedy, Project Co-ordinator at Connect 2 Laois for Food, REDZ Project Co-ordinator, Laois County Council. Email: lkennedy@laoiscoco.ie; Phone 086 174 6370