Coca-Cola and Enterprise Ireland celebrate graduates of the 2018 Thrive Project
29th January, 2019
Eight ambitious companies come together for graduation event in Dublin
Coca-Cola and Enterprise Ireland this morning 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 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; and Walsh’s Bakehouse, Waterford Blaa range of bread.
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.
Petre Sandru, Country Manager, Coca - Cola Ireland said: “The Thrive Project is all about leadership within the food and drink industry. Coca-Cola is one of the most successful companies in this sector and one of the most loved brands in the world. 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."
Speaking at the graduation event, Orla Battersby, Divisional Manager, Food Division, Enterprise Ireland 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. In addition, the vast knowledge and global experience that the Coca-Cola company shares with the entrepreneurs is hugely beneficial. We are thrilled to be here today to celebrate the hard work that each graduate has put into this leadership programme over the last six months and we look forward to working with the companies to support their plans for international growth over the coming years.”
Reflecting on his experience participating on the 2018 Thrive Project, Sam Dennigan, Thrive Project Graduate and CEO of Strong Roots said: “At Strong Roots we are planning to grow internationally as a brand and reach new export markets. The Thrive Project provided the perfect opportunity to learn from the experience of one of the most iconic global brands. This unique insight is invaluable to our company as we begin to scale our business and operations.”
Daithi O’Connor, Thrive Project Graduate and CEO of Revive Active said, “Participating in the Thrive Project has been a brilliant experience from start to finish. I really appreciate the encouragement and motivation from all those that we worked with at Coca-Cola and Enterprise Ireland. I found the one-on-one coaching sessions to be particularly beneficial. I have relayed the expertise and insights
I have gained over the last six months back to my team at Revive Active and we have already begun to incorporate these into our own brand development strategy.”
The 2019 Thrive Project will commence in April with eight new companies participating in what will be the fourth year of the global leadership programme.
Notes to Editors
Download full details of participating companies
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