Fast Growth Food & Drink Entrepreneurs Head to Coca-Cola HQ in Atlanta for an Innovation Boot Camp

Dublin, 12 June 2017: The Thrive Project, a partnership between Coca-Cola and Enterprise Ireland was officially launched today as seven entrepreneurial founders flew to Coca-Cola’s headquarters in Atlanta for an intense three-day boot camp. The boot camp is part of a six month programme developed to inspire and support ambition amongst some of Ireland’s fastest growing food and drink start-ups.  The Thrive Project is designed to provide the founders with the insights, expertise and innovative ideas on branding, packaging and marketing from some of Coca-Cola’s global experts which will help fuel the companies’ growth for the future. In addition to the inputs from Coca-Cola, the participating companies will benefit from a package of supports from Enterprise Ireland which will include assistance in the development of a robust business plan and access to a mentor.

The Thrive Project, now in its second year, will run from June to November. In addition to the visit to Atlanta, participants will also get the opportunity to visit Coca-Cola in London where they will participate in a marketing masterclass and will meet some global experts on consumer insights and new product development. In a further session, the founders will also meet with the CEO of Innocent who will share the Innocent learnings -  bringing a company from start-up to one that has reach across Europe, under the stewardship of Coca-Cola.

Commenting on the reason why Coca-Cola established the Thrive Project, Petre Sandru, Country Manager, Coca-Cola Ireland said: “Coca-Cola is one of the world’s best loved brands and one of the most successful food and drink companies on the planet. As a leader in the industry we want to share our experience and expertise with the next group of companies who all have the opportunity to become global brands.

“Ireland is well known for the quality of the food and drink that is produced here and while Coca-Cola originated in the US, we have strong Irish roots and a proud Irish heritage. As a leading member of the food and drink community in Ireland we want to play our part in nurturing the next generation of brands and helping to facilitate their growth and success as they prepare for a move into international markets.”

Orla Battersby, Head of Food Division, Enterprise Ireland said: “Enterprise Ireland’s strategy is to support Irish businesses to build scale and expand their reach into international markets. This is our 2nd year working in partnership with Coca Cola and we have received excellent feedback from the companies last year on how the programme encouraged them to have global ambition and look to new markets beyond Ireland and the UK. The programme combines Coca Cola’s market and consumer insights with Enterprise Ireland’s know how in business development, allowing the founders to gain invaluable knowledge on how to go about scaling businesses and operations. We wish all seven companies taking part in the programme the very best and look forward to learning more and supporting them on their business development plans upon their return.”

All companies selected are fast growing and are planning to expand internationally imminently. All are run by a founder (or group of founders) who are ambitious, have a strong brand and a unique proposition in the sector within which they are operating. Through participation in the programme it is anticipated that they will acquire new skills and ideas which will help propel them to the next stage of growth and success.

The companies are Nudest, a mini meal snack company; Dr Coy’s, a range of healthy chocolate bars, confectionary and ingredients; Cool Food Co.  – a company bringing a modern twist to the traditional baked bean; Everest, a range of granola cups; Hiro, a range of healthy noodle based chilled ready meals; Wyldsson, a range of premium health foods and snacks; Foca, a range of gluten free, vegan and paleo single ingredient foods and high end products.