About Us

Food Works is run by three government agencies, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc, who have worked together since 2012 to support innovative food businesses in Ireland. So far, Food Works has helped more than 70 Irish food entrepreneurs scale their businesses. The Programme is eager to build on that success.

Each of the three agencies involved with Food Works plays a specific role in taking Irish food to global markets.

Meet The Team

Gillian Willis

Gillian is the Small Business Development Manager for Bord Bia in the Food and Beverage Department. She works closely with small food and drink businesses to support them in the area of capability building to help them maximise their business potential. Gillian graduated with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from UCD and a Masters Degree in Food Business Strategy from UCD Smurfit Business School.

Karen Tyner

Senior Manager for Small Businesses and Prepared Consumer Foods, Food and Beverage Department Karen enjoys working with food and drink companies to identify new business opportunities. Karen brings her background in food science and experience working in the UK Food Ingredients industry, global key account management, category and account management in the Irish FMCG industry and buying experience in the Irish fresh, grocery and foodservice sectors to the Food Works programme.

Nicola Nic Phaidin

Nicola is Manager of Consumer Foods, Horticulture and Seafood in Enterprise Ireland in addition to Food High Potential Startups.

Louis Eivers

Development Adviser with Enterprise Ireland, Louis supports the development of “High Potential Food and Drink Start-ups”, with a focus on funding and investment. He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from NUI Galway, as well as a Masters degree in Business Strategy from UCD Smurfit Business School.

Méabh Conaghan

Senior Development Adviser with Enterprise Ireland Méabh is a Senior Advisor with Enterprise Ireland’s Food Division since 2012 and has extensive experience with food and beverage start-up companies including development of business plans and investment funding support for high potential innovative businesses.

Ciara MacDonagh
Ciara MacDonagh

Ciara McDonagh is Head of Food Industry Development in Teagasc. She has over 13 years experience in the delivery of consultancy and technical services to Irish food businesses. Leading a team of accomplished scientists and technologists, Ciara works with companies of all sizes across the Irish Food Sector, supporting product and process innovation and assisting them in meeting and evolving consumer demands and expectations.

Eddie O'Neill

Eddie is the first point of contact for the public on a range of artisan and speciality food queries. His expertise is in product development, equipment and packaging development. Based in Cork, Eddie has travelled to Germany, Britain, North America and Canada with his work. He has been involved in the development of award-winning cheeses, yoghurts, frozen desserts, sauces and beverages.

Darina Mulligan

Food Works Programme Manager.

Darina is an executive and leadership coach. She has 20 years experience designing and delivering development programmes across the FMCG, Tech, not-for-profit and food industry in Ireland and the UK. She is passionate about the Food Works programme and its role in accelerating the growth and success of high potential food and drink start ups in Ireland and globally.

Food Works Business Advisors

John Stapleton

Founder of Glencoe Inc. Co-founder of The New Covent Garden Soup Co Ltd and Little Dish John is an entrepreneur, a business leader, CEO and non-executive director with over 25 years’ experience in creating and building consumer brands in Britain and North America. John holds degrees in various disciplines and spends his time between the UK, Ireland and Germany.

Joanna Walker

Joanna is a food-retail expert who has worked in the buying, product development and marketing functions at, among others, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Netto UK. She has managed food categories worth over £400m in turnover and developed category plans for award-winning private label products.

Eamonn Rice

Eamonn is an experienced business manager with more than 28 years’ experience in the food industry. For the last ten years, he has provided consultancy services to Irish food entrepreneurs. His coaching and mentoring expertise is in the fields of management, sales and marketing and strategic planning.

Moira Creedon

Moira started working with the Irish food industry in the 1980s, building export markets in Spain, Germany and Benelux. She also built a career in global banking and spent time working in SME development with the EU and World Bank. Moira now works intensively with small Irish food producers and is affiliated to Food Works, Food Academy, Ascent Programme and Cheese Academy.

Gavin Sherry

Gavin Sherry has a track record in the food business of bringing detailed end to end food business experience and his intrepid and innovative approach to bear on complex and challenging projects and opportunities.

Matt Bentley

Matt has over 20 years marketing experience up to Director level at organizations such as Kellogg, Nestle and Green Isle. He now specializes in helping to develop growth opportunities for food brands within SMEs and multinational businesses. 

Matt has a record of success growing brands as diverse as Kellogg’s Cornflakes, Goodfellas pizza, Kellogg’s All-Bran cereal, Donegal Catch and Nestle Shreddies. As well as launching new brands and innovation across Ireland, UK, Europe and global markets.

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