More than 70 small businesses will welcome thousands of visitors to the new ‘Local Enterprise Village’ at National Ploughing Championships in September.

Six small businesses that will be at the village in September, ranging from hand-crafted hurls to baked breakfast cereals, were at the launch of the ‘Local Enterprise Village’ recently.

Local Enterprise Offices in every county throughout Ireland are supporting small businesses at the ploughing, which attracted 279,500 visitors in 2014, generating an estimated €39m in sales.

In 12 weeks’ time at Ratheniska Co. Laois, the Local Enterprise Village will be home to more than 70 small businesses for the three days of the Championships (September 22 to 24), which is Europe’s largest outdoor event.

The six businesses at the launch were:
  • 65 Hurls (hand-crafted hurls, Fingal).
  • Friends and Family Trees (souvenir tree drawings with fingerprints, Galway).
  • Creative Productions (video production, Carlow).
  • Winnie’s Craft Café (craft and knitting supplies, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown).
  • Nutri-Snax (nutritious cereals and biscuits, Cavan).
  • Kelly’s Mountain Brew (independent microbrewery, Kildare).

Speaking at the launch, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton said Ireland’s agri-food sector is performing very strongly and as a result, small businesses are benefiting, with huge opportunities for growth and job creation.

“The National Ploughing Championships is an amazing event that provides a massive opportunity for businesses and State Agencies to reach potential clients and customers, and this initiative will help us take advantage of that.

“The Local Enterprise Offices stand ready to assist small businesses to grow and avail of the opportunities that exist,” he said.

The Chair of the Network of Local Enterprise Offices, Kieran Comerford, said that the Local Enterprise Village has doubled in size in recent years.

“For small, local businesses looking to expand, the Local Enterprise Village is the ideal gateway to customers across farming communities and rural Ireland.

“Many of the small businesses being supported by the Local Enterprise Offices will be testing new products and services in September, which in turn, will generate more jobs within those companies in the near future,” he said.

The President of the National Ploughing Association, James Sutton, said it is a fantastic opportunity for these small businesses to showcase their products to the large number of visitors that Ploughing attracts.

“This is very positive for rural Ireland and the wider economy,” he said.