The Irish Export Association is developing an advanced food and drink development programme for small businesses specifically to provide free business mentoring for North American markets.

It recently issued a tender for the programme. It is a joint programme supported by three partner organisations Scotland Food and Drink, Irish Exporters Association, and Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association.

The aim of this project is to provide a wide range of SME food and drink businesses with skillsets, marketing assistance and logistical support to successfully do business in main UK markets and other international markets, mainly the US.

The programme plans to recruit SMEs from the Interreg IVA region, which covers the West coast of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the border regions of the Republic of Ireland.

Among the key activities of the project will be the creation of six marketing clusters of SMEs focused on different UK and international markets. At the centre of each cluster will be a major distributor/wholesaler or retail multiple. This brief focuses on the the North American market.

It aims to recruit 15 SMEs for this market cluster over the coming months, details of which will be announced shortly.