From handcrafted hurleys to baked breakfast cereals, more than 70 small businesses to welcome thousands of visitors to new ‘Local Enterprise Village’ at National Ploughing Championships in September.
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D. has welcomed plans for the biggest-ever ‘Local Enterprise Village’, which is being built by the network of Local Enterprise Offices at the National Ploughing Championships.
In twelve weeks’ time at Ratheniska in County Laois, the Local Enterprise Village will be home to more than 70 small businesses for the three days of the Championships (September 22nd – 24th), which is Europe’s largest outdoor event.
Local Enterprise Offices in every county throughout Ireland are supporting small businesses at the ploughing, which attracted more than 279,500 visitors in 2014, generating an estimated €39 million in sales.
Welcoming the announcement of the plans by representatives of the Local Enterprise Offices, the National Ploughing Association and Local Authorities Ireland, Minister Bruton said: “Ireland’s agri-sector is performing very strongly and as a result, small businesses in key sectors are benefitting, with plenty of opportunities for growth and job creation. The National Ploughing Championships are growing in importance and scale every year and through the Local Enterprise Offices, more small businesses and start-ups can start to avail of those opportunities.”
The Chair of the Network of Local Enterprise Offices, Kieran Comerford, said that the Local Enterprise Village has doubled in size in recent years, explaining: “For small, local businesses looking to expand, The Local Enterprise Village is the ideal gateway to customers across farming communities and rural Ireland. Many of the small businesses being supported by the Local Enterprise Offices will be testing new products and services in September, which in turn, will generate more jobs within those companies in the near future.”
The President of the National Ploughing Association, James Sutton said “it is tremendous to see the huge level of enterprise interest, with an unprecedented number of diverse and exciting businesses, exhibiting at the “Local Enterprise Village” at this year’s Ploughing Championships. There is no doubt that the entrepreneurial spark is alive and well in Ireland and it is a fantastic opportunity for these small businesses to showcase their products to the large number of visitors that Ploughing attracts, this is very positive for rural Ireland and the wider economy.”
At today’s launch, the Minister met with seven small businesses that will be hoping to make a big impact on visitors to the Local Enterprise Village in September. They were: 65 Hurls (handcrafted hurls, Fingal), Winnie’s Craft Café (craft and knitting supplies, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown), Nutri-Snax (nutritious cereals and biscuits, Cavan) Kelly’s Mountain Brew (microbrewery, Kildare), Creative Productions (video production, Carlow), Friends and Family Trees (souvenir tree drawings, Galway) and Wild About (artisan chutneys and dressings, Wicklow).
Organised by the National Ploughing Association, the 84th National Ploughing Championships (www.npa.ie) are set to take place from September 22nd to 24th at Ratheniska, Stradbally in County Laois and further details around the Local Enterprise Village are available from www.localenterprise.ie.