Growing businesses will be given the opportunity to showcase their talents to an international audience at the Northern Ireland Open in Partnership with Ulster Bank.
Local food and drink start-ups are being invited to the Ulster Bank Food Festival, hosted at Galgorm Castle during the Northern Ireland Open from July 27-31, when they will be given the chance to set-up shop for samples and sales at a purpose-built marquee.
This unique opportunity is being offered to businesses from the Entrepreneurial Spark Hatchery in Belfast and Artisan NI, and they will be able to present their wares at the Northern Ireland Open – a fast-growing annual professional golf tournament on the European Challenge Tour.
Building on the success of last year’s launch, it marks a renewed commitment by Ulster Bank to the sector to help businesses maximise opportunities for export.
The event also highlights the work that is being done to support Northern Ireland’s important food & drink industry, with 2016 designated as Northern Ireland’s Year of Food & Drink.
According to recent estimates, the turnover of the Northern Ireland food and drink processing sector is around £4.7bn.
Joining Ulster Bank’s Terry Robb and Galgorm Castle’s Christopher Brooke at the launch of the Ulster Bank Food Festival were local producers.These included Paula Heaney, who owns Belfast-based healthy juices outlet Skinny Malinky’s; Linda McGibbon, who is the founder of Sea Sugar; and Alice McIlhagger, who runs Brambleberry Jams from her home in Ballinderry Lower.
Robb said: “Not only does the NI Open provide a platform for top international talent, it also offers local food and drink businesses a chance to show what they’re made of and reach new markets at a time when the spotlight is firmly on outstanding local quality produce. We’re proud to provide help for what matters to their businesses.”
Gary Henry, Northern Ireland Open Event Director, commented: “We are delighted to once again be working with our long-term partner Ulster Bank on this year’s NI Open and Food Festival. We look forward to welcoming upwards of 40,000 visitors to Galgorm Castle across the tournament week, and hope they enjoy the world-class local produce on offer.”
The Northern Ireland Open in Partnership with Ulster Bank begins with Pro-Am Day on Wednesday July 27, with the tournament running from Thursday July 28 until Sunday July 31.
Tickets for the Northern Ireland Open are free and can be secured by registering online at www.niopen.golf.