Rural entrepreneurs encouraged to submit ideas for innovation awards

RURAL entrepreneurs and farmers from Monaghan have been urged to submit their inspiring business ideas for the 2010/11 JFC Innovation Awards, with a prize fund worth €44,000.

This all-island competition is aimed at farmers and rural entrepreneurs with an idea or a business that began trading in the last five years.

JFC managing director, John Concannon, said: “Innovation is needed more than ever. We need to see new businesses emerge that will create employment and generate wealth in rural areas.

“The added value of this competition is that it is all-Island, which opens up a much larger marketplace for any successful applicants.”

Mr Concannon, from Tuam, Co Galway, launched his buckets for feeding calves on the Late Late Show 23 years ago. Today his company sells a variety of products worldwide and employs over 200 people with a turnover of €40 million.

The prize fund includes cash prizes of €12,000, from JFC Manufacturing; Irish Farmers’ Journal advertising valued at €16,000; and mentoring from Teagasc, the Irish Local Development Network, and Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, worth €16,000.

There are four award categories: Energy / Manufacturing; Value added / Speciality Food; Services / Rural Tourism; and Start-up.

Previous winners include: Robert Goligher, of Kee Boarding Kennels and Cattery, for his Chapel of Rest Pet Crematorium concept, and Brian Phelan of Glenfin Ducks.

The final date for receipt of completed entries is 5pm next Friday, December 10. For more, visit: www.jfc.ie or www.teagasc.ie

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