Coca-Cola and Enterprise Ireland this week celebrated the graduation of the third cohort of the Thrive Project.
The eight ambitious Irish companies were honoured for completing the six-month leadership programme, an initiative developed by Cola-Cola and Enterprise Ireland, in academic partnership with Dublin City University (DCU) to inspire and nurture the next generation of innovative food companies to build scale.
The Thrive Project gave the entrepreneurial founders a unique opportunity to access the insights, expertise and innovative ideas of some of Coca-Cola’s global experts as they plan the future expansion of their individual companies.
In addition to the inputs from Coca-Cola, Enterprise Ireland supported the participating companies in the development of a robust strategic financial plan and access to one-on-one coaching sessions.
Highlights of this year’s programme included an intensive three-day boot camp in Coca-Cola’s headquarters in Atlanta, where senior executives from Coca-Cola coached the eight entrepreneurs on business strategy across a range of functions.
The founders also attended a special two-day workshop at Coca-Cola’s Western Headquarters in London, where they met with the global experts on consumer insights and new product development. The group also got the chance to visit Innocent’s Fruit Towers to hear how they were brought from a start-up company to one that has a global reach, under the stewardship of Coca-Cola.
The companies that are graduating from this year’s programme are:
Brogan’s Bakery (A range of biscuits and cakes)
Cahill’s Farm Cheese who produce artisanal cheeses
The White Hag (Unique craft beers)
Couverture (Chilled and frozen desserts for both retailers and food service businesses)
Pow-Cow (High protein and low calorie Greek style frozen yogurt)
Strong Roots (Innovative frozen plant based products)
Revive Active (All natural health supplement)
Walsh’s Bakehouse (Waterford Blaa range of bread)
Speaking at the graduation event, Divisional Manager of Food Division at Enterprise Ireland, Orla Battersby said, "Our mission at Enterprise Ireland is to inspire and support business leaders with global ambition to scale their businesses and build their capability to reach into new export markets. The objectives of the Thrive Project perfectly align with this mission as it allows us to share our expertise in business development and leadership capability with these innovative Irish companies."
Country Manager at Coca - Cola Ireland, Petre Sandru added, "We are delighted to be in a position to share our best practices and experience with these innovative Irish companies who all have the potential to become global brands. We congratulate each of the entrepreneurs for completing the programme, we hope that they have found it to be worthwhile and wish them every success as they continue to expand their businesses."