Food under the spotlight in Tipperary

Cllr. Pauline Coonan, Catherine Hogan, Enterprise Ireland and Joe Macgrath, North Tipperary Co. Manager.
Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the food industry are gathering in Thurles on Tuesday, May 14th, for the second annual ‘Who to talk to’ expo.

Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the food industry are gathering in Thurles on Tuesday, May 14th, for the second annual ‘Who to talk to’ expo.

Organised by the North Tipperary County Development Board, the free afternoon event at the Thurles Chamber Enterprise Centre will be officially opened by well-known restaurant critic and journalist, Tom Doorley.

The main topics up for discussion in the seminar series are: Food Tourism, On-Farm Food Enterprises, Exporting, Marketing and Retail Trends. Over thirty different support agencies and organisations will have information stands at the event, including Enterprise Ireland, Teagasc, Bord Bia, Tipperary Food Producers, Fáilte Ireland, Irish Exporters Association, Tipperary North & South County Enterprise Boards, the North Tipperary LEADER Partnership, the South Tipperary Development Company and Microfinance Ireland.

To help answer questions that small business owners might have around finance, loans and grant assistance, a special funding workshop featuring 7 presentations will be taking place at 2pm, followed by food seminars at 3.20 pm while the information desks will be open to the public from 2.00pm to 8.00pm to suit people at work and in business who can select from the programme and attend elements of particular interest to them.

“Given the importance of the food industry to our local and national economy, and the growth opportunities for businesses in the sector, we decided to incorporate food focussed seminars and themes this year,” said Joe MacGrath, County Manager with North Tipperary County Council.

He added: “Through the joint efforts and collaboration of over thirty organisations from the public and private sector, business owners and new start-ups will be able to get valuable information, advice and guidance under the one roof.”

Rita Guinan is a member of the North Tipperary County Development Board and CEO of the Tipperary North County Enterprise Board. She said: “If you’re setting up a business or involved in a new venture, there are a lot of factors to consider with issues and challenges to overcome. The message of encouragement that we want to send out to existing businesses and new start-ups is that there are a host of enterprise supports on offer: from mentoring to training and from grants to loan assistance. The purpose behind ‘Who to talk to’ is to bring would be and existing entrepreneurs together with support organisations in a single venue where their information, support and contact requirements will be met.”

The Funding Workshop will run from 2.00p.m. to 3.10p.m. and feature seven short presentations on grants and other supports available for business development. This session will be chaired by Mr. Matt Shortt, Director of Services, North Tipperary County Council and Chair of the Tipperary North County Enterprise Board Ltd. 

1. 2.00 - 2.10: Irish Exporters Association - Food & Drink Programmes - Caoimhe Delany

2. 2.10 - 2.20: Failte Ireland - Funding and Supports for Tourism - Colm Breheny

3. 2.20 - 2.30: Enterprise Ireland - Indigenous SMEs & Export Focussed Firms - Catherine Hogan

4. 2.30 - 2.40: InterTradeIreland - Cross Border Trade Incentives - Paddy Savage

5. 2.40 - 2.50: Microfinance Ireland - Lorna Coleman

6. 2.50 - 3.00: North Tipperary LEADER Partnership (NTLP) - Michelle Putti

7. 3.00 - 3.10: Tipperary North County Enterprise Board - Supports for Micro Enterprise - Rita Guinan

Food Seminars will start at 3.20pm and Seminar Moderators will include: Mr. Joe MacGrath, County Manager; Councillor Michael O’Meara, Mayor North Tipperary; Councillor Michael Cleary, Mayor Thurles Town Council; Mr. Pat Whelan, Chairman Tipperary Food Producers Network and Mr. Philip Kinane, I.F.A.
3.20pm - 4.10pm Stephanie Moe, Bord Bia, ‘Developing Export Opportunities for Irish Food & Drink’
4.10pm - 5.00pm Caoimhe Ni Dhuibhinn, Failte Ireland, Food Tourism

5.00pm - 5.30pm Tom Doorley, ‘Attracting Media Attention for your Food Enterprise’
5.35pm - 6.20pm David Berry, Kantar World Panel: ‘The Retail Food Landscape in Ireland’

6.25pm - 7.20pm Eddie O’Neill, Teagasc, ‘Starting an on-Farm Food Business’

8.00p.m. Close 
The Tipperary Food Producers Network are mounting an exhibition of member’s products at ‘Who To Talk To’ which is guaranteed to inspire ‘would-be’ food producers. Members of the highly successful Network will be available throughout the afternoon which is viewed as a valuable resource by the event organisers.

If you are thinking of self employment or already in business and looking for inspiration, advice, grants, loan finance, training or other supports, the ‘Who To Talk To’ event should certainly meet your needs. If you would like more information contact the Tipperary North County Enterprise Board, Connolly Street, Nenagh at 067 33086, e-mail:, visit or to book your place at the food seminars visit While admission to the seminars is free advance booking is essential due to space restrictions. Agencies involved in the ‘Who To Talk To’ initiative include North Tipperary County Council, North Tipperary VEC, North Tipperary LEADER Partnership, South Tipperary Development Company, Teagasc, LIT Tipperary, the County Enterprise Boards and Enterprise Ireland.