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Tánaiste and Minister Breen unveil plans for Local Enterprise Village at Ploughing Championships

‘Local Enterprise Village’ from the Local Enterprise Offices set to boost profile of small Irish companies

Plans to boost the profile of Irish small businesses and start-ups at Europe’s largest outdoor event – the National Ploughing Championships - were launched by An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD and Minister for Business, Pat Breen TD.

From the 19th to 21st September, the ‘Local Enterprise Village,’ managed and funded by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), will be home to 31 diverse start-ups and small businesses from all over the country. Many of the small businesses will be making their debut at the Championships, using the opportunity to launch new products and services to the 280,000 visitors expected by the National Ploughing Association (NPA).

Announcing the plans for the Local Enterprise Village, the Tánaiste said:

“Through the LEOs, this Government continues to be committed to supporting and sustaining the development of micro and small businesses such as those taking part in the Local Enterprise Village at the National Ploughing Championships. By boosting the profile of indigenous Irish companies at major international events, the focus is on promoting trade and driving innovation and export growth across all business sectors across the country. For the 280,000 people expected at the National Ploughing Championships in September, I would encourage them to pay a visit to the Local Enterprise Village to support Ireland’s start-ups and small businesses.”

Minister Breen said: "The National Ploughing Championships is a wonderful event which continues to grow in scale and importance, especially for small businesses looking to launch new products and services to a mass audience. The Local Enterprise Village will be at the National Ploughing Championships again this year and is another important initiative by the LEOs. It enables small businesses to grow sales and expand, creating more jobs across every county. It is a testament to the fact that the LEOs – working with other agencies and organisations – are central to delivering on the ambition of helping people to help themselves, building a culture of entrepreneurship and enterprise, delivering jobs in every County in Ireland.” 

An Tánaiste and Minister Breen were joined at the launch by: Kieran Comerford of the Local Enterprise Offices, Anna May McHugh, Managing Director, The National Ploughing Association; Eoghan Hanrahan, Regional Director, Enterprise Ireland; and Anna-Marie Delaney, Chair of the CCMA Economic, Enterprise, Community and Culture Committee.

Chair of the LEO Exhibition Committee, Kieran Comerford, said: “With over a quarter of a million visitors every year, the Local Enterprise Offices see the National Ploughing Championships as the ideal opportunity to raise the profile of Ireland’s small businesses and start-ups to a mass audience. For visitors looking for products and services for the home, the family or the farm, the Local Enterprise Village is unique because it offers every visitor a chance to meet the person behind the company and to buy directly from them, to help support jobs in small businesses all over the country.”

Anna May McHugh, NPA Managing Director said: “It is wonderful to see that so many diverse and interesting businesses will be represented at this year’s National Ploughing Championships’ ‘Local Enterprise Village’.  This is a unique opportunity for these small businesses who have been supported by their Local Enterprise Office, with 283,000 visitors in attendance last year, to showcase their products to the large number of visitors that Ploughing attracts.”

An Tánaiste and Minister Breen also met with representatives from several Local Enterprise Village companies, including J&J Services in Carlow (cable manufacturers), VirtualVet in Waterford (digital recording of animal drug treatment), Irish Artisan Charcoal Company in Limerick (hand-made charcoal for BBQs), Wilde Irish Chocolates in Clare (confectionary, fudge and chocolate spreads) and ROC Protection in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (protective base layers for hurling).

ROC Protection is one of the companies that will be making its debut at the National Ploughing Championships next month. Carl Cullen, Ross Byrne and Cormac Spain from Clonkeen College in Blackrock (all aged 17) invented a hurling base layer which won a national Student Enterprise Award earlier this year, in a LEO-run programme which involves 22,000 secondary school students.

Meanwhile, a third of companies within the Local Enterprise Village are coming from the food and drink sector, offering visitors a ‘taste’ of new ranges such as chilled coffees, smoked fish pates, low-calorie beef, granola, herbal drinks, ready to bake mixes and high protein snacks.

The village will also be the home of small businesses which manufacture locally for the home and farm, such as rainwater gutters, architectural joinery, blasting machines, push-pull cables and sprayer attachments.

In addition to agri-tech products for farmers, visitors will also be able to meet the makers behind furniture, fashion, craft, skincare and sports equipment companies, all based in Ireland.

More details around the Local Enterprise Village and the supports on offer through the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are available at

The 86th Annual National Ploughing Championships runs from September 19th to 21st at Screggan, Tullamore, County Offaly with tickets on sale through


For all media information, please contact Engage Ireland Sarah Bohan at Tel: 01 427 8388 / 087 65 39936 / Email: office @

Notes to Editor:

Photography Note: High resolution photography is available from this launch, reproduction-free, through Mark Stedman Photography.

LEO Clients taking part in Local Enterprise Village 2017 (September 19th – 21st)

Carlow: J & J Services Ltd

Cavan: Elena Brennan Jewellery

Clare: Wilde Irish Chocolates

Cork North and West: Agri-txt

Dublin City: Wild by Water

Fingal: Fresh from…

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown: ROC Protection

Galway: Mulrooney Joinery Ltd

Galway: Kite Sports

Kerry: The Busy Botanist

Kildare: Wooly Apple Knits @WoolyAppleKnits

Kilkenny: Aim2Golf Ltd

Laois: PaddyO's Cereal

Leitrim: Magiflo Gutters Ltd

Limerick: Irish Artisan Charcoal Company Ltd

Longford: Vobe Nitro Coffee          

Louth: KooKee

Mayo: Monaghan Bros Bar Furniture Manufacturers

Meath: The Farmer's Daughter

Monaghan: Rucksnacks

Offaly: Applied Concepts Ltd

Roscommon: Costello personalised gifts and novelty items

Sligo: SUIP Manufacturing

Tipperary: Hickeys Bakery Ltd

Tipperary: Irish Piedmontese Beef

Waterford: VirtualVet

Waterford: Criostal na Rinne

Westmeath: Watt Footprint

Westmeath: Yeates Natural Skincare Products

Wexford: Coatek

Wicklow: Toby Wagons

About the Local Enterprise Offices (

The 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), which are run in partnership by Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities, are the ‘first-stop-shop’ for providing advice and guidance, financial assistance and other supports to those wishing to start or grow their own business.

The LEOs provide a ‘signposting’ service in relation to all relevant state supports available through agencies such as Revenue, the Department of Social Protection, Education and Training Boards, the Credit Review Office and Microfinance Ireland. The LEOs can also offer advice and guidance in areas such as Local Authority rates, Public Procurement and other regulations affecting business.

The LEOs can offer direct grant aid to microenterprises (10 employees or fewer) in the manufacturing and internationally-traded services sector which, over time, have the potential to develop into strong export entities. Subject to certain eligibility criteria, the LEOs can provide financial assistance within three main categories, i.e., Feasibility Grants, Priming Grants and Business Development grants for existing businesses that want to expand. For anyone interested in starting or growing a business, the LEOs also offer ‘soft’ support in the form of training (e.g. a Start Your Own Business course) or can provide a mentor to work with the business proposer.