Food Business Support

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Supporting Our Businesses

Whether you wish to start up, expand, troubleshoot or export, there is a support programme available to you and your needs.  Here are some useful points of contact below.  Click on any of the headings to find out more about that particular programme.Our Prosperity and Place Team are here to help create the conditions to grow your business or even start a new business!  


NI Business Start Programme - Go For It NI  

Council will assist you with developing a business plan for your business idea.  A business plan is a written document that describes your business. It covers objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts.  A business plan helps you to:

  • clarify your business idea
  • spot potential problems
  • set out your goals
  • measure your progress
  • access finance to start and grow your business

Visit Go For It NI or phone 0800 027 0639 to speak to a business advisor.


Alchemy Business Mentoring 

Alchemy is the name of our business mentoring programme that offers bespoke business support to businesses (operating for a minimum of 6 monthsd) in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council area.  It centralises business enquiries offering direct business support or linking business to other relevant support programmes.

Alchemy offers:

  • Tangible, focused and bespoke advice and support
  • Referrals to other relevant business support
  • Up to five days FREE bespoke mentor support/consultancy (depending on need) delivered by industry professionals
  • Opportunities to grow the business with professional support

Business Benefits

  • Assess where your business is now and focus on future development and growth
  • Access impartial and free business mentoring from one or a number of professionals
  • Design a bespoke and tailored support programme meeting the business need
  • Encourage and promote networking with other local businesses
  • Share best practice & problem solving tools and techniques on the Alchemy blog page
  • Deliver regular updates and information on business development opportunities directly to business

Alchemy will commit to supporting those businesses not fulfilling Alchemy criteria.  The team will proactively identify relevant offerings provided through one or more of the Council’s partners and/or other relevant support agencies.  Register your interest by calling 028 7776 0311, or email   For more information, visit the Alchemy page.


Rural Development Programmes delivered within Local Action Group for Council

Priority 6 is managed by the Local Action Groups (LAGs) in each of the new Council areas.  The Causeway Coast and Glens Local Action Group (LAG) has a wider membership of 280 members and a Board of 18 members – 10 Social Partners and 8 Elected Partners.

The Causeway Coast and Glens LAG has been allocated £9.6 million budget which will be available through the Local Action Group to meet Priority 6. 

There are six schemes available under Priority 6:

  •  Rural Business Investment Scheme (delivered by LAG)
  • Village Renewal Scheme (delivered by LAG)
  • Rural Broadband Scheme (delivered by LAG)
  • Rural Basic Services Scheme (delivered by LAG)
  • Leader Cooperation Scheme (delivered by LAG)
  • Rural Tourism Scheme (£10million funding allocated for Northern Ireland managed directly by DARD).


Rural Development Programmes Delivered Outside of Council

A budget of up to £623 million has been agreed with the European Union and the Northern Ireland Executive for the Rural Development Programme.

There are six European Union priorities for rural development:

  • Knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas
  • Farm competitiveness and risk management
  • Food chain organisation
  • Restoring and enhancing ecosystems
  • Promoting resource efficiency
  • Social inclusion, poverty reduction and rural economic development

For further information please visit the DAERA website.


Other Grants and Funding Avenues within Council

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has launched an exciting new online system for grant applications.  The Hub has been designed to simplify the grant making process for all organisations applying for funding to Council.  The new system is easy to use, applicants register as users on the system and are given a unique username and password.  This allows applicants to check on the status of their application and obtain quick and easy access to a range of information and advice on all of Councils grant funding programmes. Click on the heading above to find out more. 


Food and Consumer Testing Suite (FACTS) at Ulster University Coleraine

At FACTS there are state-of-the-art facilities which offer fully equipped product development kitchens, sensory testing booths (utilising Compusense software), consumer research facilities, and a nutritional analysis laboratory. The staff at FACTS are highly experienced in the food and drinks industry and include sensory and nutritional experts as well as qualified chefs and academics. Our ongoing work in research and innovation helps ensure that we retain the cutting edge skills, knowledge and expertise to solve your problems and support your business development. Our services include: • Product Development/Refinement/ Reformulation • Product Benchmarking/ Competitor Analysis • Sensory Evaluation & Testing • Customer Preference Analysis • Focus Groups • Shelf Life Testing & Measurements • Nutritional Evaluation & Composition • Observational Studies • Ingredient Substitution • Ingredient Modification Analysis.  Contact FACTS Director and Centre Manager Amy Burns T: 028 70123984 E: 


Foodovation Centre at North West Regional College (NWRC)

The Business Support Centre (BSC) of the NWRC want to assist your business to develop and grow.  They undertake free needs analysis and then provide signposting to funding and assist with applications to source funding to deliver upon your needs.
They then work with companies to deliver tailored solutions, through our technical consultants and College academic staff.  KAREN MARRAN, Technical consultant - Food Technology,  +447587775461 e:


Business Support from Tourism NI

Tourism NI works closely with local tourism businesses, associations and development bodies to help capitalise on the opportunities for growth that exists in Northern Ireland tourism.  We are here to help and in addition to the support information available below our Industry Development team and Quality and Standards team are available to provide further advice and support to help you grow your business and to improve our visitors’ experience of Northern Ireland.  


Business Support from Invest NI

To help your business compete successfully and function efficiently Invest NI offer support across a variety of areas.
Their support is tailored to your needs and includes advice, mentoring and finance.


Food Division at Invest NI

 Invest NI has a dedicated Food & Tourism Division, which delivers support to around 440 companies across the Food & Drink, Print & Packaging and Tourism on the above link to find out more. 


Get in touch with a Food Network Project Officer

If you would like to avail of business support or find out more about the Food Network, please contact or please visit our Facebook page or our Twitteraccount

DOWNLOAD Invest NI Food Divisional Booklet Jan 2017

DOWNLOAD NWRC Foodovation Booklet Jan 2017