Owners: Donal Hanrahan and Len Dunne
Founders Donal Hanrahan and Len Dunne, both former international rowers, were inspired by the surge in the numbers of older people getting active to develop a sports-recovery products for sportspeople over 35.

Most sports nutrition products are aimed at the 18-30 age group. They are formulated to deliver a short blast of energy with a dose of high GI (glycemic index) sugars. But as you get older, the body’s needs change. Elivar’s products deliver the same dose of energy but in a slower-release format, eradicating blood-sugar spikes and crashes.

The range also includes vitamins and minerals to support post-exercise recovery, which takes longer as you grow older.

Elivar’s founders both had considerable start-up experience, but neither had a background in the food industry. Donal says: “Food Works provided the valuable connections necessary to source the expertise and networking contacts to develop the Elivar range of products including formulations, packaging, production and logistics.”

Elivar’s transition from a concept to a viable product launch was supported all the way by Food Works, he says.

By taking part on the programme, Elivar got an Enterprise Ireland voucher that facilitated the products’ R&D, and a Bord Bia grant to conduct in-depth consumer focus groups in the UK.

Food Works team members also introduced them to the Halo Angel Business Network (HBAN), which led to a sizeable investment. Enterprise Ireland then matched this investment.

Donal says that both the start and end of the Food Works Programme were standout moments. “Getting accepted on the programme in the first place was the first independent validation of our idea, and when we exited the programme we had moved our original idea from a very basic consumer insight to an investor-ready business plan.”