Farmers advised on business start-up

TRANSFORMNG ideas into new businesses was the main theme of the first ever Teagasc Rural Entrepreneurship conference held in Mullingar, Co Westmeath. The aim was to assist and guide people with new business ideas to set up their own enterprise.

Paul McCarthy, Teagasc Rural Business Specialist, urged the 300 people in attendance to be positive and to pursue the opportunities that exist in areas where they have particular strengths.

John Concannon, chief executive of JFC, said a person who succeeds in developing an idea into a business never gives up, is determined and never envisages their ideas or products failing.

He urged the audience to start by taking small steps, writing down their ideas, and developing a plan for the business.

Angela Lacey, who set up Deerpark Farm Services to assist farmers in organising herd profiles and farm administration, advised delegates that the most effective tool for anyone starting their own enterprise is a business management plan.

Raymond O’Malley, chairman, Biogreen Energy, told how his company has expanded from crushing 60 tonnes of oilseed rape in its first year, to crushing around 12,000 tonnes in 2006/07.

To-date 15,000 farm families have participated in the Teagasc Options Programme.

Farmers are offered the opportunity to attend a rural business start-up course to help them research their idea, develop marketing skills and complete a business plan.

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