David Carey is an award-winning young entrepreneur who is breaking new ground in the food sector.

A Sports Science & Health graduate from Dublin City University, Carey started his first business at the age of 17.

In 2014, he was named as Kildare’s best young entrepreneur, and won an investment of €20,000 as part of the €2 million Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition.

‘My ambition is to build Nutraplenish into the next global Irish food brand. We have two core products at the moment, protein porridge and protein water.

‘People are now much more aware of the difference between protein and carbohydrates, and protein water is much ‘lighter’ than protein shakes, so we are entering a growing market.

‘We’ve had great support from our Local Enterprise Office and Enterprise Ireland as we look to export. We also took part in the Musgrave Food Academy and Bord Bia’s Food Works programme. They were invaluable regarding market research and getting our pitch and pricing right.

“If I were to give advice to anyone entering this business it would be to ignite your idea quickly, get it to market, fail fast”

‘Trying to break into export markets is tough. We’ve had a few nightmares, but we are getting there in the UK. We already have two listings, one with a UK multiple. The important thing is to get your pricing correct. We’ve also had some interest from a supplier in Hong Kong. The Asian market is a very exciting prospect. 

‘I think the Irish food sector as a whole is on the rise. People who set up food companies tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves. They are passionate about what they do and what they make. You can get a sense of what the producer is like by the food they produce. The product often reflects the personality of the owner.

‘If I was to give advice to anyone entering this business it would be to ignite your idea quickly, get it to market, fail fast if you have to. You will learn more from two weeks in the ‘trenches’ than two years in planning, product development, and market research.’

FOOD WORKS how to apply. 

The Food Works programme is an accelerator programme designed to support, challenge, drive and accelerate your new business.

The Food Works programme brings together the expertise from three agencies: Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc. With access to technical, business and marketing experts, Food Works gives a food company an excellent opportunity to accelerate and grow their business. The programme starts June 14, 2016, and runs through to December 2016. Apply here. 

Pictured are fellow Food Works participants Roisín Hogan, HiRo by Roisín; David Carey, Nutraplenish; and Karen Keane, Bean and Goose.

READ MORE: ‘I may be only 17, but I’ve tried to launch other businesses.’