Seven Ambitious Companies are Selected to Participate in the 2017 Coca-Cola/Enterprise Ireland Thrive Project

12th June 2017

Enterprise Ireland

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.  


Notes to Editors

Full details of participating companies:


The business was developed by Fiona Keane from Tipperary who was a participant on the first Food Works Programme. The product is a hand-held mini-meal snack in pouch format incorporating all natural ingredients: Greek yogurt, fruits and oats. This is aimed at adults in the 16-45 year old demographic and is listed in the grab and go category. It’s an ambient product with a shelf life of 12 months and there are currently 2 flavours and a good innovation pipeline with further products to be launched later in the year.

Fiona Keane is passionate about food and has been consumer facing in a variety of roles for past 15 years. She has been instrumental in running tastings, sampling sessions and consumer food fairs in Ireland and UK over the past 6-9 months. Product is currently selling in the UK and Ireland and will be in mainland Europe by the end of the year. 


Dr Coys

Dr Coys produces a range of healthy chocolate bars, confectionary and ingredients. The products are designed so as not to cause a spike in blood sugar. The chocolate is high in fibre and vitamin E and is gluten and lactose free.  They are currently launching seasonal products including fruits and nuts to add to their core range. The target consumer is one who is seeking healthy indulgence but also very much focused on taste.

They have a central listing with Musgraves and are expanding to other Irish multiples this year. Led by Aaron and Alison Stroh. 


Cool Beans

The Cool Food Co. was founded in 2012 by two ambitious female entrepreneurs, Sarah O’Connor and Isolde Johnson. Their signature product, Cool Beans, is a new take on the traditional baked beans; a consumer ready product of beans in a range of innovative flavours, with artificial additives or preservatives, targeting health conscious consumers. Range extensions will evolve around The Cool Bean range, while also being healthy and convenient.

Sarah and Isolde have been hugely successful in putting themselves front and centre of the brand, with a social media following in excess of 12,000 followers through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


Everest Granola Ltd

Everest Granola Limited, founded in 2014 produces a range of granola cups, which contain a mixture of Greek yogurt, fruit and granola, in three flavours, with the aim to ‘revolutionise Breakfast on-the-go’. These are sold under the Everest Granola brand to retail stores throughout Ireland as well as producing own label products to retail and food service accounts.

Despite being only in his mid-twenties, Seamus has managed to build a successful business with limited resources. Plans are in place for further range extensions as well as new products in the healthy convenience and ‘grab-and-go’ markets.


Hiro by Roisin

After beginning life as an Accountant with Ernst and Young, Roisín quit her job in 2012 to take part in the BBC’s hit reality TV show, ‘The Apprentice’. This served as a launchpad to creating Hiro, a range of healthy noodle based chilled ready-meals. Made from the flour of the Asian Konjac vegetable, the noodles are low in calories and carbs, and come in a range of four varieties. Upon completing the Food Academy, launched nationwide to Food Academy in 186 Supervalu stores in 2015.

Roisin is also one of the resident weekly hosts on the hit Irish Podcast, The Capital-B, which places a more informal tone to the world of business and entrepreneurship in Ireland, while having more than 28,000 followers on Twitter.



Wyldsson Limited founded in 2012 by David McGeady, produces a range of premium health foods and snacks. Wyldsson’s uniqueness as a food company is epitomised in that it has manged to maintain sales exclusively online, through their webstore. The core product is a range of trail mixes in 10 unique varieties, consumed in a convenient tube that makes it easy to snack on the go. The range has extended to a range breakfast products (granola/porridge etc) nut butters, bake at home bars and energy balls and more.

All products are manufactured and dispatched from their manufacturing facility in Dublin to customers in Ireland, the UK and continental Europe. In addition, their tubes are regularly spotted in the hands of professional athletes around the world, who appreciate the quality and convenience.


Foca Organics

Foca Organics was founded in 2011 by Hillary Foley and Paul Cahill, now with 11 employees. Hilary is a qualified holistic complimentary health therapist who also ran her own financial services business for 6 years.  Upon completing the Food Works Programme in 2012, the business moved from only sourcing, packing and creating single ingredient products such as chia seeds, bee pollen and spirulina to also developing and manufacturing high end products e.g. cacao hot chocolate, protein powders, matcha tea etc, with roughly 60 SKUs in total.

All their products are ‘Gluten Free’, ‘Vegan’, and ‘Paleo’ and are typically found in the free-from category in supermarkets. They are listed in 600 stores in Ireland as well as exporting to the UK, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia and Malaysia.


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