Anna May McHugh with some of the Gardai on duty at the National ploughing championships at Ratheniska.Picture: Alf Harvey/HRPhoto.ie
Local Enterprise Office Offaly and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Mary Mitchell O’ Connor T.D., have unveiled plans for the ‘Local Enterprise Village’, which will be home to 84 small businesses from around the country for the three days of the National Ploughing Championships.
Managed and funded by the Local Enterprise Offices, the Local Enterprise Village opens its doors from September 20th to 22nd at Screggan in Tullamore, offering Irish start-ups and small businesses a launch-pad for new products and services, giving them the chance to impress the 280,000 visitors expected at European’s largest outdoor event.
Last year, small businesses inside the Local Enterprise Village generated sales and orders worth €645,000 to the Irish economy, according to figures from the Local Enterprise Offices.
Supported by Local Enterprise Office Offaly, local companies that are showcasing their products and services at this year’s Local Enterprise Village include: The Mad Food Company in Killeigh, Co. Offaly which sell gourmet puddings with a funky twist. And Deanery Furniture in Shinrone, Co. Offaly which manufacture traditional bespoke furniture with a contemporary twist.
The plans for the 2016 Local Enterprise Village include a new product launch and demonstration area, where small businesses and start-ups can invite visitors to preview and sample new Irish brands. A new award scheme, the Local Enterprise Village Awards, is also being introduced for the first time, to highlight ‘up-and-coming’ brands and companies.
The Minister unveiled the plans at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in Dublin with the help of the Local Enterprise Offices, the National Ploughing Association, Local Authorities Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and some of the small businesses that will be re-locating to the Local Enterprise Village in September.
Announcing the plans for the Local Enterprise Village, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mitchell O’ Connor said: "The National Ploughing Championships is a wonderful event which attracted 281,000 visitors last year and it 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 is another important initiative from the Local Enterprise Offices in partnership with local authorities, as it enables small businesses to grow sales and expand, creating more jobs across every county. Creating jobs across the country is a key priority for me as only a strong economy supporting people at work can pay for the services needed to create a fair society.”
The Local Enterprise Offices in the local authority network want the Local Enterprise Village to become a “must visit” destination for anyone travelling to the Tullamore site in September. Orla Martin, Head of Enterprise of Local Enterprise Office Offaly said: “We want to welcome as many visitors as possible through the doors of the Local Enterprise Village, to support the local businesses that will be launching new products and services there. With fashion, food, craft, homeware and gifts from all over the country under the one roof, we’re expecting record crowds this year.”
The National Ploughing Association Chairman, PJ Lynam, said: “There is no doubt that the entrepreneurial spark is alive and well in Ireland with an unprecedented number of diverse and exciting businesses, exhibiting at the “Local Enterprise Village”, at this year’s Ploughing Championships. This is a unique opportunity for these small businesses,with 281,000 visitors in attendance last year, to showcase their products to the large number of visitors that Ploughing attracts.”
The entrepreneurs that met with Minister Mitchell O’ Connor at this week’s announcement included the founders behind ‘Toby Wagons’ in Wicklow, ‘Celtic Gent’ in Fingal, ‘De Mad Food Company’ in Offaly, ‘Melanie Hand Design Jewellery’ in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, ‘Tumbledown Media’ in Carlow and ‘Scotts Irish Cider’ in Cavan.
More details around the Local Enterprise Village are available through www.localenterprise and by searching #localenterprise on social media. The 85th Annual National Ploughing Championships runs from September 20th to 22nd 2016 at Screggan in Tullamore in County Offaly with tickets on sale from August through www.npa.ie.