Food and tourism businesses gain from development group funding

Food and tourism businesses figure strongly in the latest round of funds allocated by the South and East Cork Area Development (SECAD).

Backed by funding from the EU and the Government’s National Development Plan, the development group provides 50% of the investment costs across a range of job-sustaining enterprises in east Cork. Not surprisingly, given Irish agri-food’s present rising fortunes, the food sector has joined tourism as the region’s fastest growing area of activity.

Any group looking to access funding for their business, tourism project or community idea is invited to a free development group event on June 6, from 4pm-6.30pm at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Little Island, Cork. The maximum grant is €150,000.

Representatives from Titanic Experience, Happy Days Ice Cream, Movie Junction and the Tracton Community Centre will provide their first-hand experiences of the development group funding, and the impact that the development group’ssupport had on their organisations. Development officers will be on hand to offer one-to-one advice to anyone interested in applying for funding.

Also present will be Patrick Twomey of Farm Fresh Foods, a prepared salads business successfully operating from the Twomey family’s tillage farm in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, since 1998.

“The South and East Cork Area Development have been fantastic for us,” said Patrick Twomey. “As well as providing 50% of the funding for approved projects, they also offer a full package of business advice and services.

“For anyone starting off, they can offer individual mentoring, send you on courses on finance and marketing, and help you in dealing with buyers, supermarkets and other retailers.

“We have built up a loyal customer base locally and we are always trying to expand, bring out new products and find new outlets locally.

“Having the South and East Cork Area Development behind you adds thatextra bit of peace of mind in the decisions you make.”

Shoppers in Cork and Kerry will be particularly familiar with Farm Fresh Foods’ range of prepared salads, which are available in SuperValu, Spar, Centra and Costcutters outlets.

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