Eight ambitious companies are selected to participate in 2018 Coca-Cola / Enterprise Ireland Thrive Project

10th September 2018

Thrive Project
Pictured with Orla Battersby, Enterprise Ireland; Ronan Farrren, Coca-Cola; and Amanda Ward, Enterprise Ireland are the 2018 Thrive Project participants

Coca-Cola and Enterprise Ireland partner to mentor fast growth food and drink entrepreneurs

Thrive Project has seen 15 entrepreneurs mentored to date

Coca-Cola and Enterprise Ireland have officially launched the 2018 Thrive Project - a six-month leadership programme developed to inspire and nurture the next generation of ambitious food companies to build scale and expand reach.

The Thrive Project gives eight entrepreneurial founders insights, expertise and innovative ideas from some of Coca-Cola’s global experts helping to fuel the companies’ future growth.

As part of the programme, the eight entrepreneurs flew to Coca-Cola’s headquarters in Atlanta for an intensive three-day boot camp in July. Over the course of the bootcamp participants were given a unique insight into business strategy across a range of functions from senior executives in The Coca-Cola Company.

In addition to the inputs from Coca-Cola, the participating companies will benefit from Enterprise Ireland support in the development of a robust business plan and access to one to one coaching.

The 2018 Thrive Project, now in its third year, has been running from June of this year and participants will graduate in January 2019. Alongside the Atlanta bootcamp, participants participate in an Innovation and Strategy masterclass at Coca-Cola’s Western Europe Headquarters in London and meet with business leaders from Innocent to hear their developmental journey prior to acquisition by Coca-Cola.

Commenting on the background to 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.

“I am delighted that we are in a position to partner with Enterprise Ireland to give these eight 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.”

Amanda Ward, Programme Manager, 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 third year working in partnership with Coca-Cola 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. The programme 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.

“We wish all eight companies taking part in the programme the very best and look forward to learning more and supporting them throughout the project.”

Speaking at the launch of this year’s Thrive project, Roisin Hogan, Thrive Project Graduate and CEO of HIRO said: “The Thrive Project for me last year was an incredible experience. The whole experience was really motivational and inspirational, providing me with tangible takeaways 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.”

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 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; and Walsh’s Bakehouse, Waterford Blaa range of bread.


Notes to Editors

Full details of participating companies:

Founded by Sean Brogan in 2016, Brogans bakery produce a range of biscuits and cakes, both under their own as well as private label. Primary among these is their range of Kerrygold branded shortbread cookies and cookie dough, leveraging the success of Irish butter in numerous export markets. http://brogansbakery.ie/

Cahill Farm Cheese is a family run business based in West Limerick, focused on the production of speciality cheddars (artisanal cheeses). Retail Listings include Supervalue, Dunnes Stores, Tesco and Aldi. Main Export markets are US and Canada, through international distributors. Cahill Farm Cheese are active members of CAIS (Association of Farmhouse Cheese). They also partner with other speciality cheese producers such as Cooleeney, Cashel Blue and the little milk company to avail of export opportunities. http://www.cahillscheese.ie/index.html

Founded in 2014 in Co Sligo by four young businessmen, The White Hag is a multi-award winning Irish craft brewery. They produce a range of unique craft beers in kegs, cans and bottles to both the on and off-trade markets in both the Irish and export markets. https://thewhitehag.com/

Couverture design, develop and manufacture premium ambient, chilled and frozen desserts for both retailers and food service businesses in Ireland, UK, France and the Middle East.  The range comprises of gateau, cheesecakes, pies, tarts, puddings, potted desserts, individual desserts, mini assiettes, snacking treats and afternoon tea. In Food Service, they supply airlines, hotels, restaurants, catering companies and distributors. Some of their existing customers include Aer Lingus, Musgrave/SuperValu (Retail and Food Service), Aryzta, Pallas/Sysco, Starbucks. http://www.couverture.ie/

The company was established by Niall Moloney, a qualified dietitian with a postgraduate in sports and exercise nutrition. The product is a high protein, low calories Greek style frozen yogurt in three flavours. The target customers are gym goers and those seeking an indulgence with less guilt. Currently listed in all Lidl stores in Ireland. www.pow-cow.com

Established in 2015 by Sam Dennigan, Strong Roots is sells a range of innovative frozen plant based products, such as sweet potato fries as well as a range of vegetarian burgers. Retail listings include Supervalu and Tesco Ireland, as well as Morrissons and Tesco in the UK, as well as exporting to the Middle East and Singapore. http://www.strongroots.ie/

Founded by Daithi O’Connor (EY Entrepreneur of the year finalist) and Liam Salmon in 2011, produce a range of all-natural health all natural health supplement formulated with a unique blend of 26 active ingredients, designed to enhance cardiovascular health, boost energy levels and support the immune system. The range of Revive Active products is available in more than 1,000 healthfood stores and pharmacies across Ireland, as well as in 60 exclusive stores in London. Outside of retailers, Revive Active sells online to customers in Ireland, UK, the rest of Europe, the United States, Australia and the rest of the world, delivered to the customer’s door free of charge. https://reviveactive.com/

Walshs Bakehouse is a Waterford based, family run company in operation since 1984. The company is the sole manufacturer of the Waterford Blaa range of bread, a product which gained the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in 2013. Walshs Bakehouse also produce a range of morning goods including scones and baps. The company supplies to the foodservice sector with customers including Aryzta, La Rousse Foods and Musgraves. The UK, UAE, Germany and France are all export destinations for Walshs Bakehouse products. http://waterfordblaa.ie/