Dublin food network hopes Helsinki will prove tasty option

Foodoppi, which aims to educate children about eating, chosen by Finnish accelerator programme

Foodoppi has piloted its food education programme in Ireland and over the summer ran teacher training for teachers on behalf of the Department of Education.

Foodoppi has piloted its food education programme in Ireland and over the summer ran teacher training for teachers on behalf of the Department of Education.

 

Finland might not be the most obvious port of call for a start-up looking to expand but one Irish company is hoping that Helsinki may prove to be a stepping stone to success.

Foodoppi, a Dublin-based online food network aimed at children aged between six and 14 years, is in the Finnish capital after being among 10 companies chosen out of more than 200 to take part in xEdu, a Helsinki-based business accelerator programme.

Brainchild

The brainchild of Louise Lennox, the pastry chef from TV3’s The Restaurant, and children’s food and science specialist, Aisling Larkin, the edtech firm is busy looking for investors in what is a country that routinely comes top of the charts globally for standards in education.

The company founders, who are also appearing at Slush, Finland’s annual tech conference, are developing a food education programme aimed at the European market.

“We’re developing our programme for use in public and private schools in Finland. As part of the xEdu accelerator we have access to investors and mentors so it is a massive opportunity for us,” said Ms Larkin.

xEdu has helped build a global network of over 100 daycare centres, schools and higher education institutions and assisted 32 companies in speeding up their growth.

Foodoppi has piloted its food education programme in Ireland and over the summer ran teacher training for teachers on behalf of the Department of Education.

“At the moment there is no space on the curriculum in Ireland for food education so we’ve been working with teachers for the last 18 months to try to find ways to introduce it. Obviously, the lack of education around food is a global issue and one that is not going away. In Europe alone there are 41 million children who are either obese or overweight giving rise to a €81 billion health bill,” added Ms Larkin.

Mission

The company, which describes its mission as being to educate, entertain and empowers children through the wonders of food,” has been self-funded to date. However, it sees opportunities from the fact that while funding is available for healthy eating initiatives, they will shortly only be available to countries with dedicated food education programmes.

The co-founders will be commuting between Dublin and and Helsinki for the next few months while they participate in the accelerator.

“Things are really beginning to take off for us. We’re getting lovely recognition in Ireland and a similar reaction in Finland as well. It is the number one country for education in the world so where else would you want to be at this stage of the business?,” said Ms Lennox.