The first company we visited this day was a non-profit organization known as Food Cloud. When we arrived we were introduced to a man named Shawn who ran us through a brief PowerPoint presentation and showed us around the Food Cloud facilities.
Food Cloud was started by two women in 2014 with the goal to reduce waste and redistribute unused food. This began as a two person operation but as they got deeper into the business they realized things had to be done differently to more efficiently redistribute unused food. That’s when they introduced their Food Cloud app which notified an external team there was excess food who would then redistribute the food to charities. The business makes a slight profit off distribution and receive some government funding for salaries. Now the organization has three centers and is growing. The business is concerned specifically with helping people and not making a profit.
The critical aspect of the business is due to the technology they implemented. This seems to be a recurring theme on this trip. The companies that adapt and embrace these technologies are growing as a direct result. Furthermore, in Ireland it seems that most companies that are not multi-national corporations are concerned with making a real difference in the community.
The second company we visited Enterprise Ireland, was very different from Food Cloud. It is a fully government run corporation that focuses on funding exports, export assistance and developing competitiveness on exports. The biggest challenge facing the company and industry today is Brexit. England is a big importer of Irish goods and the focus is on being less reliant on England to export to moving forward due to Brexit.
Enterprise Ireland also focuses on creating opportunities for start up companies. The most important job for Enterprise Ireland is to grow and maintain a healthy Irish economy. Start ups are an important part of this process. They work with five hundred start ups a year. They work with companies they feel will succeed and focus on growth. Most of these companies have already received funding but Enterprise Ireland also offers funding to start up companies for a portion of equity. Enterprise Ireland is very much like Bord Bia the company we visited a few days ago. Both companies focus on economic growth and are dealing with some of the same issues such as Brexit. Enterprise Ireland is succeeding when there is a healthy thriving Irish economy.