Shout Out to Food Companies in South and West Cork to Avail of LEADER Funding Opportunity

A number of food producers in West and South Cork have benefited from a LEADER initiative that provides up to €200,000 in funding for artisan food companies and food start-ups.  Managed by SECAD and supported by Cork County Council, the programme has invested €300,000 this year in six Cork companies, and SECAD is shouting out to food producers to avail of this excellent funding opportunity.

Hassetts Bakery, Frank Hederman Smoke House, Leahy’s IceCream & Chocolate Factory, Kinsale Bay Food, Clonakilty Chocolate and Skibbereen Food Company have received significant support through the LEADER programme, with grants for production equipment, branding and marketing resulting in potential job creation of up to 26 new roles.

​Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed T.D. said “The Food Wise strategy acknowledges the unique and vital role of the small, micro and artisanal food sector in both the rural and national economy and its positive growth prospects. The funding provided for the Small Micro and Artisanal Food sector, through the LEADER mechanism, is critically important for these businesses to grow.  I want to encourage other small, micro and artisanal food businesses to avail of this scheme into the future.”​​​

Local development company SECAD offers supports to business and the community through a variety of funds including the LEADER Food Initiative.

“This funding offers food producers a real opportunity to benefit from investment in market development, competitiveness and innovation. We are inviting food companies to get in touch with us so that we can support them in the funding application. While the funding is open until end of 2020, we are advising food producers to contact us as soon as possible to avail of this excellent opportunity” said Suzanne Kearney, SECAD.

The LEADER Food funding is ideally suited to food producers with distinctive local foodstuffs, marketing and processing for strategically identified sectors including honey and apple processors, and collaborative proposals, with a focus on production quality and market issues.  Improved marketing, product quality and business skills through training are also supported through the programme. All applicants must be registered as a food producer with the relevant Competent Authority. The minimum grant will not be less than €5,000 and a maximum of €200,000.

Cllr. Christopher O’Sullivan, Mayor of Cork County reiterated how LEADER is an example of the Council’s continuing dedication to both our local economy and communities.  “Through our 3 Local Development Committees we are committed to improving the range and quality of locally based products and facilities which will assist in both job creation and community development.  Over the years funding through LEADER has improved the prosperity of both people and places throughout the county and I’m looking forward to the continuation of same”

The LEADER Food initiative is jointly managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Approvals for the awards of funding under this initiative are made by Cork County Council’s LEADER Local Action Groups which are a sub group of the Local Community Development Committees. (LCDCs)

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If you are located in the SECAD area and would like further information on how to apply for support through LEADER or to discuss a project idea, contact SECAD Food Business Development Officer  – Tanya Fitzgerald tfitzgerald@secad.ie