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Catalyst – Digital Food & Drink Innovation Summit provides opportunity for Food & Drink Sector in Ireland & Wales.

Carlow, Tipperary and Welsh businesses in the Food and Drink sector are been given the opportunity to participate in a no-cost Digital Food & Drink Innovation Summit which presented by one of Ireland’s foremost authorities on Entrepreneurship, The Entrepreneur’s Academy in partnership with Irish & Welsh partners in the Ireland-Wales Catalyst project. The summit provides an opportunity to hear from international industry experts and explore innovation and sustainability for food business with speakers including Noel Davidson , Margaret Hoctor, Steve Thompson & Simon Bishop ,The event is being funded through the EU funded CATALYST project and will be held from 10am-1pm on Wednesday May 20th 2020.

CATALYST is a cross-border pilot project involving Carlow County Council, Tipperary County Council and IT Carlow on the Irish side, University of Wales Trinity Saint David and WRAP UK on the Welsh side, that aims to use sustainable development to drive design and innovation for Welsh and Irish SMEs. One of the two areas CATALYST focusses on which are priority sectors of the Ireland – Wales programme is Food & Drink.

The ” Digital Food & Drink Innovation Summit – CATALYST – Innovate your Business through COVID-19″ event is aimed at owner managers and key staff of SMEs based in Carlow, Tipperary and Wales within the Food & Drink sector. This cross-border event’s objective is to enable businesses to innovate their way through the COVID-19 crisis.. The event will be delivered on-line.

Following registration the event is scheduled to run from 10.00am to 1.00pm on Wednesday the 20th May. Punctuated by a mid-morning comfort break the summit will consist of four insightful and relevant workshops delivered by informed speakers.

Noel Davidson, Digital Innovation in the Food Sector
Noel is Director of Training at the Entrepreneurs Academy with expertise in the areas of Leadership, Communication Skills, Social Media, E-Marketing, Information Technology, Sales & Marketing, Business Planning & Strategy, Business Pitching.

Margaret Hoctor, Food Consumer and Producer Insights
Margaret Hoctor is a highly qualified trainer and coach at the Entrepreneur’s Academy having 20 years’ experience in training, and is a food sector business owner, with her own business in food and drink production. Additionally, she has a 20-year career working in market research with Millward Brown. Models, Productivity and Improvement, Creativity & Innovation, Networking and Business Pitching.

Steve Thompson, Creative Director and Head of Learning
A member of the Entrepreneur’s Academy’s leadership team, involved in strategy delivery, design, and growth.

Also joining the event from Wales will be Simon Bishop, Co-Founder of SHFoodie, speaker & mentor.
SHFoodie is an award winning, Global Food and Beverage Development business with an entrepreneurial approach helping businesses from early stage start-up through to scale up. They also assist established brands in developing new ranges or perfecting current ones.

Speaking about the programme on behalf of the Local Enterprise Offices in Carlow & Tipperary County Council Kieran Comerford, Head of Enterprise at Carlow County Council said “the COVID-19 crisis has had a devastating effect on commerce across the globe, presenting businesses particularly in the Food & Drink sector with significant challenges moving forward” Comerford continued to say “with such challenges comes opportunity, this event will present participating businesses with a chance to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills required to innovate their business through the crisis”

Joanne Fitzgerald , EU Projects Officer with IT Carlow speaking about the event commented by saying “SMEs in the Food & Drink sector play an essential role in our economy, providing essential product, services and employment. They must be supported in so far as possible”. Fitzgerald continued to say “through this event Food & Drink businesses will get the opportunity to access expert guidance through the experience and real world knowledge of relevant informed speakers”.

Chris Holtom, Project Manager with CATALYST’s Welsh partners, University of Wales Trinity Saint David commented “We’re pleased to be able to offer Welsh food and drink businesses the opportunity to participate in this valuable cross-border summit. SMEs in Wales, like those in Ireland, are facing unprecedented challenges and we hope this event can help owners, managers and key staff to not only respond to the impact of Covid-19 but also identify new areas for development and growth.” Holtom continued, “the summit also provides Welsh SMEs with a valuable opportunity to learn from and share best practice with businesses in Ireland at a time when collaboration and mutual support is most needed.”