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Local Enterprise Office National Ploughing Championships Plans

An Tánaiste and Minister Breen unveil Local Enterprise Office plans for Ploughing Championships

An Tánaiste and Minister Breen launch LEO plans for ‘Local Enterprise Village’ next month

Local Enterprise Office plans to boost the profile of Irish small businesses and start-ups at Europe’s largest outdoor event – the National Ploughing Championships - were launched by An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. and Minister for Business, Pat Breen, T.D.

From the 19 to 21 September, the ‘Local Enterprise Village,’ managed and funded by the Local Enterprise Offices, including LEO Kildare, will be home to 31 diverse start-ups and small businesses from all over the country. Many of the small businesses will be making their debut at the Championships, using the opportunity to launch new products and services to the 280,000 visitors expected by the National Ploughing Association (NPA).

LEO Kildare will be represented at the Local Enterprise Village by Richard Ormsby of Wooly Apple Knits.    Wooly Apple Knits was formed in early 2014 as Richard and his partner discovered a niche in the market for hand crafted children's knitwear.  A special yarn unique to Wooly Apple Knits is used in their children's knitwear range.   Wooly Apple Knits started trading at the local farmers market in Naas and was overwhelmed with the response from customers.  Wooly Apple Knits now attend all the major events in Ireland including Bloom, RDS Horse Show and the RDS National design and craft fair in Dublin and Cork.  Wooly Apple Knits was also featured on RTÉ 1 Nationwide with Anne Cassin and sell their knitwear online to Europe and the USA.  Currently Wooly Apple Knits have 2 employees and intend to take on more staff in the near future.

Announcing the plans for the Local Enterprise Village, the Tánaiste said:

“Through the LEOs, this Government continues to be committed to supporting and sustaining the development of micro and small businesses such as those taking part in the Local Enterprise Village at the National Ploughing Championships. By boosting the profile of indigenous Irish companies at major international events, the focus is on promoting trade and driving innovation and export growth across all business sectors across the country. For the 280,000 people expected at the National Ploughing Championships in September, I would encourage them to pay a visit to the Local Enterprise Village to support Ireland’s start-ups and small businesses.”

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Minister Breen said: "The National Ploughing Championships is a wonderful event which continues to grow in scale and importance, especially for small businesses looking to launch new products and services to a mass audience. The Local Enterprise Village will be at the National Ploughing Championships again this year and is another important initiative by the LEOs. It enables small businesses to grow sales and expand, creating more jobs across every county.  It is a testament to the fact that the LEOs – working with other agencies and organisations – are central to delivering on the ambition of helping people to help themselves, building a culture of entrepreneurship and enterprise, delivering jobs in every County in Ireland.” 

Ms Jacqui McNabb, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Kildare feels that the National Ploughing Championships are the ideal opportunity to raise the profile of local small businesses and start-ups to a mass audience,  as the event attracts over a quarter of a million visitors every year.

She said: “For those at the ploughing championships looking for products and services for the home, the family or the farm, the Local Enterprise Village is unique because it offers every visitor a chance to meet the person behind the company and to buy directly from them, to help support jobs in small businesses all over the country.”

Anna May McHugh, NPA Managing Director said: “It is wonderful to see that so many diverse and interesting businesses will be represented at this year’s National Ploughing Championships’ ‘Local Enterprise Village’.  This is a unique opportunity for these small businesses who have been supported by their Local Enterprise Office, with 283,000 visitors in attendance last year, to showcase their products to the large number of visitors that Ploughing attracts.”

ROC Protection is one of the companies that will be making its debut at the National Ploughing Championships next month. Carl Cullen, Ross Byrne and Cormac Spain from Clonkeen College in Blackrock (all aged 17) invented a hurling base layer which won a national Student Enterprise Award earlier this year, in a LEO-run programme which involves 22,000 secondary school students.

Meanwhile, a third of companies within the Local Enterprise Village are coming from the food and drink sector, offering visitors a ‘taste’ of new ranges such as chilled coffees, smoked fish pates, low-calorie beef, granola, herbal drinks, ready to bake mixes and high protein snacks.

The village will also be the home of small businesses which manufacture locally for the home and farm, such as rainwater gutters, architectural joinery, blasting machines, push-pull cables and sprayer attachments.

In addition to agri-tech products for farmers, visitors will also be able to meet the makers behind furniture, fashion, craft, skincare and sports equipment companies, all based in Ireland.

More details around the Local Enterprise Village and the supports on offer through the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are available at www.localenterprise.ie.

The 86 Annual National Ploughing Championships run from September 19 to 21 at Screggan, Tullamore, County Offaly with tickets on sale through www.npa.ie.

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