The countdown is on for the Innovation Arena for 2017, after a hugely successful ‘Boot Camp’ held at the National Ploughing Site in Screggan and the Farmers Journal Beef Farm. This is a new element to the Innovation Arena, James Maloney who is coordinating the competition for Enterprise Ireland says that ‘Preparing first time exhibitors to get the best out their opportunity is one of the primary goals of the ‘Boot Camp’. During the mentor sessions, Enterprise Ireland staff advised the participants on their product and the various paths to market.
The first session held on the National Ploughing Site, was opened by NPA’s Mr. PJ Lynam who welcomed and congratulated everyone on their achievement. He was followed by TJ Hughes from Enterprise Ireland who outlined the development path for companies to scale up with Enterprise Ireland. Irish Business Author Blaise Brosnan, outlined his experience and delivered some valuable advice on entrepreneurship. ‘He summarised cashflow in a business in a very logical way, saying that your money cannot not be in two locations at the one time, explaining that money that is in stock or owed to the business is not in the account.
Eibhlin Murphy from Major Equipment in Mayo, gave her insights into developing a global market for products. She outlined the importance of networking in countries such as Australia, using Enterprise Ireland staff and offices to promote business. She also stressed that companies must keep innovating to succeed over a long period of time.
The second session of the Boot Camp training was held on the Irish Farmers Journal Beef Farm just outside Mucklagh. Justin McCarthy Editor of the Irish Farmers Journal gave a brief talk on innovation and agriculture, with a short farm tour. Paul Finnerty from the Yield Lab, an Ag Tech accelerator company, explained how they have helped to secure funding for investment in Irish companies with potential to be global player in the Ag Tech sector. Sinead Evans advised the audience on how to deliver a strong digital message to support their products at this year’s Innovation Arena. The day ended with a panel of assigned mentors receiving a pitch from each participant on their innovation.
An International Audience
The Innovation Arena has always attracted a strong interest with International Buyer Visits, this year sees this number grow by 50 percent. Key to the development has been the success of Irish companies in this sector. Enterprise Ireland’s overseas staff are helping to develop this by organising potential buyers to come over and see the Innovation Arena, along with all Enterprise Ireland client companies on show at the Ploughing. Buyers are coming in from America, China, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Central and Northern Europe. Just over 100 buyers will attend the Ploughing, and Enterprise Irelands networking session with Irish companies. On Tuesday, the 19th The Innovation Arena will close to the public to facilitate the ‘Focus on International Markets Session’. The aim of this briefing is to highlight to Irish companies what is happening in the Ag Tech Sector from around the world. The format will comprise of a short presentation, followed by Q and A session from the companies. It should be of great benefit to all Irish companies looking to expand and grow their business.