New Food Innovation and Networking Space at Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards

Bank of Ireland and Blas na hEireann are, this year, partnering to create The Backyard at Blas, a new innovative breakout space and networking venue at the 10th Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards.

The Backyard at Blas is a dedicated space to meet fellow producers, gain knowledge & find support for your business. An exciting line up of speakers will share their experiences to help you develop & grow your business.

The Backyard at Blas came about from the highly successful Bank of Ireland’s Food Series which takes place each month in the Bank’s Workbench & Community Branch in Limerick. The initiative aims to educate, celebrate and promote all that’s good about local Irish food. In addition to the Food Series being held in Limerick’s start up space, these events will also be rolled out in Cork and Galway’s Workbenches.

The venue is part of the ever expanding events and opportunities which are central to Blas na hEireann. The Backyard at Blas, in the heart of Dingle, will host a series of talks and networking events are scheduled on the Friday 29th September and Saturday 30th September.

Speakers will include well known chefs, buyers and industry experts offering valuable and insightful advice during interactive sessions with finalist producers.

Speaking on the partnership, Liam Sheedy, Director of Munster, Bank of Ireland said, “Bank of Ireland are absolutely delighted to partner with Blas na hEireann to bring the Backyard at Blas to this year’s awards. Bank of Ireland has always played an active role in supporting food, agri and hospitality businesses and our partnership with Blas na hEireann will further strengthen that support.”

Back: Michael Murphy, John Doyle, Artie Clifford, Frank Shaw 
Front: Fallon Moore, Roisin Crotty, Pat Carroll

Artie Clifford, Blas na hEireann Chairperson, added, “Blas are delighted to partner with Bank of Ireland to bring this exciting new venue where producers can meet fellow producers, gain knowledge and share their experiences.”

Conversations in The Backyard, which opens from 12 noon, include:

  • Friday 29th September

2pm: Start Talking…
Blas Producer’s Champion 2016 John McKenna introduces the core theme of The Backyard at Blas. Communication. He will be in conversation with award-winning producers on why you should look to your competitors in the industry as your colleagues.

3pm: Be Social…
A 20 minute session of social media tips with the #Blas2017 Twitter Fairy, Sharon Noonan aka @QueenOfOrg. If you’re a complete novice with social media or use it sporadically, come along and get for inspiring material, time-saving tips and strategic tools to capitalise on the opportunities that social media can generate for you, your business and your award winning products.
Social media costs nothing but your time and it does pay off. Don’t be scared, get social.

4pm: Think it Through…
You have worked hard on your product. You have done late nights and early starts. You have put your heart and soul into it. To carry this through to the finish line with a buyer you really need to know more than just your own product inside out. You need to know what is happening in your category; what the trends are and how to prepare for that all-important meeting.

5pm: Be ready to Show your Best…
You can’t just rock up at a trade show and hope for the best. You have invested time and money in getting there, but you need to know what to do when you are at your stand. You also need to check certain things before you go. This talk will give you invaluable hints and tips on a successful sales plan and managing and achieving realistic targets. It will also give you the heads up on potential snags and hidden costs.

6pm: Press on without pressure…
The temptation in business is always to say yes to too many things and end up running out of product and or/steam. This session is a useful discussion on how to scale up your business sensibly and sustainably. It will focus on how to finance growth as well as pinpointing potential grant options. Slow and steady wins the race.

  • Saturday 30th September

10.30am: Mind Yourself as well as your Business
Burnout is a common problem in business, especially with self-employed small producers. They tend to eat, sleep and breathe what they do, which is not good for them or their families. Life is all about striking the right balance between work and play. Happy people are more productive.

12noon: Don’t take it for Granted
So many businesses are sticking their heads in the sand. Barring seismic political change, Brexit will happen and it will have a major impact on how you do business. This session looks ahead to the challenges Brexit will bring along with potential opportunities. Find out what assistance, strategies and aids are out there to help plan.

3pm: Get your Story straight
If you can’t get your story across, you can’t sell your product. You need to be able to catch a journalist’s attention and know what they are looking for. It is devilishly difficult to get coverage these days but knowing what the media looks for is half the battle. So, too, is responding quickly to their requests and not badgering people. There is a world of difference between being dogged and being pushy.

The Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards, which take place every year on the last weekend in September, in Dingle, Co. Kerry, are the largest blind-tasted food awards on the island. More than 2500 products were entered this year.

All Winners will be announced on Saturday 30th, September and you can find out more about the Blas Na hEireann Irish Food Awards at

Follow the Blas Na hEireann Awards on Twitter by clicking the link:
// and on the Official social media hashtag #Blas2017

See you in Dingle!


About IrishFoodGuide

Zack Gallagher. News about Food in Ireland, Food Producers & Irish Food Tourism. Chef, Food Blogger, Failte Ireland Food Ambassador. On the #WildAtlanticWay @IrishFoodGuide on Twitter
This entry was posted in Blas na hEireann, dingle, Dingle Food Festival, Food in Ireland, Irish Food Awards 2017, news. Bookmark the permalink.

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