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Rural Business JFC Innovation Awards - Finalists Announced

8 March 2007

The twelve finalists in the JFC Innovation Awards for Rural Business, organised by Teagasc and the Irish Farmers Journal, have been announced. The finals and presentations take place at the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone on Tuesday next, 13 March.

The JFC Innovation Awards for Rural Business is a new award scheme aimed at farmers and the rural community. It is a kick-start competition where prizes are awarded for business ideas and plans with a prize fund of €30,000 comprising cash, advertising, mentoring and business support. The overall winner’s prize is valued at €15,000. The Innovation Awards comprise three categories:

  1. Environmental/Energy
  2. Manufacturing/Technology
  3. Rural Tourism/ Value Added Food Production/Services

Ireland continually features near the top of the list of the most entrepreneurially active countries in Europe as published in the annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report. This award scheme encourages that entrepreneurial spirit in rural areas, particularly within the farming community. The objectives of the competition are to encourage a flow of new ideas from rural areas, to help individuals develop a business idea become reality and to motivate people to take an innovative approach to new business.

The awards are sponsored by one of rural Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs - John Concannon of the JFC Group, based in Galway. John enthusiastically encourages new rural entrepreneurs to emulate his success.

The rural landscape is changing and through innovative ideas rural dwellers can take advantage of this change. People are always looking at new business options and the JFC Innovation Awards for Rural Business is a great incentive to explore these ideas.

JFC Innovation Awards finalists:

  1. Ben and Charlotte Colchester, Drumeen Farm, The Islands, Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny
    Value added products from organic rape seed production
  2. Angela and James Lacey Deerpark Farm Services, Deerpark, via Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary
    Farm administration and herd traceability service
  3. Brendan and Eilish Tierney, Irish Woodpellets Ltd., Kilconly, Tuam, Co. Galway
    Produce woodpellets from waste sawdust and shavings for customised burners
  4. Grain Eco, six tillage farmers from Counties Laois and Kildare combining resources
    Grow, and distribute industrial grade oats (black oats) to supply the wood pellet stove and boiler market
  5. George and Jason Stanley, Castlefleming, Erril, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
    Labour saving sheep farming devices
  6. Ivor Allen, Looking Hot, Ballaghmore, Borris-In-Ossary, Co. Laois
    Enamel and restore cookers in a full range of colours.
  7. Padraig Gilligan, Gilligan Meats, Derrane Road, Fourmilehouse, Co. Roscommon
    Tray packed meat cuts from the farm for niche markets
  8. Mark Hanley/Michael Spellman, Green Grove Wood Energy, Killeenaboy, Kilteevan, Co. Roscommon
    Processing wood from tree felling, forestry thinnings and timber mill residues as a renewable fuel for burning in customised burners.
  9. Andrea McCann, Landmark Greyhound Kennels, Ballinaclare, Leskinfere, Gorey, Co. Wexford
    Greyhound puppy and sapling livery as well as a whelping to weaning service
  10. Jo Nash and Gina Geagan, Greenbee, Unit 1, Central Lane, Bundoran, Co. Donegal
    Online virtual marketplace and directory promoting sustainable living
  11. John and Benny Robinson, Millwood Crafts, Benburb, Co. Armagh
    Handcrafted toy wooden farm sets
  12. Forest Produce Ltd., Clahane, Tralee, Co. Kerry