Eight Irish entrepreneurs have been chosen to receive a business masterclass from Coca-Cola IE and Enterprise Ireland after being selected for the 2018 Thrive Project.

Advice from industry experts

Now in its third year, Thrive offers start-ups a chance to undergo an accelerated six-month learning programme with industry experts. It’s part of a joint project by Coca-Cola Ireland and Enterprise Ireland designed to support Ireland’s fastest-growing food and drinks start-ups.

This year’s participants include:

  • Brogan’s Bakery, biscuit and cake makers
  • Cahill Farm Cheese, artisan cheese producers
  • The White Hag, craft beer brewers
  • Couverture, frozen dessert company
  • Pow-Cow, high-protein yogurt makers
  • Strong Roots, frozen vegetable recipes
  • Revive Active, natural health supplement producer
  • Walsh’s Bakehouse, which makes the Waterford Blaa range of bread

Encouraging fast-growing companies

The project is specifically designed to encourage fast-growing companies with plans for international expansion. This year’s participants are all strong brands with a unique selling point and the desire to bring their businesses to the next level. The programme will give them the necessary tools to achieve those goals, offering mentorship and practical insights to promote growth.

The mentorship programme

The Thrive Project presents a chance to get advice and ideas on branding, packaging and marketing from The Coca-Cola Company. It kicked off with an introductory session at the Coca-Cola Ireland offices in Dublin, before entrepreneurs were flown over to The Coca-Cola Company headquarters in Atlanta for an intensive business boot camp.

“The Thrive Project for me last year was an incredible experience” 
– Roisin Hogan, Thrive Project Graduate and CEO of HIRO

Crash course in business strategy

Once in the US, our leaders received a crash course in business strategy from senior company executives. This included strategy courses from some of the drinks industry’s leading figures as well as practical advice on how to boost their own business efforts. And this was just the start of the process for the businesses, who will also get a package of support from Enterprise Ireland.

Three of the 2018 Thrive Project participants: Niall Moloney from Pow-Cow, Celine Hayes from Couverture and Michael Walsh, Walsh’s Bakehouse

Giving businesses a boost

The official launch of this year’s Thrive Project was welcomed by Petre Sandru, Country Manager of Coca-Cola Ireland. “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.

“I’m delighted that we are in a position to partner with Enterprise Ireland to give these 8 great start-up businesses a boost. Ireland plays a special role in Coca-Cola’s global system through manufacturing, R&D, sales, and corporate offices in Dublin, Ballina, Drogheda and Wexford. The Thrive Project allows us to leverage this special relationship between Ireland and Coca-Cola to help a new generation of local food and drink companies to grow.”

Supporting Irish businesses

Enterprise Ireland will offer each of the eight participants access to a mentor and help them to develop a robust business plan that can help them to grow and expand as a company.

Amanda Ward, Programme Manager, Food Division, Enterprise Ireland explains what the Thrive Project was designed to achieve. “Enterprise Ireland’s strategy is to support Irish businesses to build scale and expand their reach into international markets.

“This is our third year working in partnership with Coca-Cola Ireland and we have received excellent feedback from the participating companies from the previous intake on how the programme encouraged them to innovate to compete and succeed in global markets.

“It combines Coca Cola’s market and global insights with Enterprise Ireland’s expertise in business development, allowing the entrepreneurs to gain invaluable knowledge on how to go about scaling businesses and operations.”

‘Motivational and inspirational’

One of the participants from last year’s programme spoke at the launch and talked about how the Thrive Project helped her business.

“The Thrive Project for me last year was an incredible experience,” said Roisin Hogan, Thrive Project Graduate and CEO of HIRO. “There were really motivational and inspirational as well as tangible takeaways around the whole sampling and tasting process that I could easily apply to my small Irish business. I wish this year’s group starting out on their Thrive journey the best of luck.”

Find out more about Enterprise Ireland.