Tipperary is an “ideal” location for setting up and running a small business, according to the organisers behind the county’s largest enterprise initiative, the ‘Who to talk to’ Expo in Thurles which took place in Thurles.
Organised by the North Tipperary County Development Board, thirty state support agencies offered advice, information and supports to an estimated 300 small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs at the free afternoon event.
Opportunities around food tourism, on-farm food enterprises, exporting, marketing and retail trends were all on the agenda, with experts on hand from 30 organisations, including the Tipperary North County Enterprise Board, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, Teagasc, Microfinance Ireland, Irish Exporters Association and Fáilte Ireland. This event was a first for Tipperary in terms of the focus on food and the organisers received very position feedback on the day from local business owners/managers who appreciated that generally such high profile speakers don’t make it out of the main cities.
Tipperary is an ideal location for setting up a small business, especially a food business, according to the County Manager of North Tipperary County Council, Joe MacGrath. He said: “Tipperary is most definitely open for business and we already have a vibrant food sector thriving here with a growing Food Producers Network. There’s plenty of scope for food tourism in Tipperary and for rural and farming communities, on farm food production can generate real business.”
The event kicked-off with presentations about access to finance, loans and grants, which was a very popular topic, according to Rita Guinan, CEO of the Tipperary North County Enterprise Board. She said: “When you’re thinking of setting up a new venture or growing an existing business, you need to find out what supports are out there for enterprise. The aim behind ‘Who to talk to’ was to simply bring those seeking supports together with those offering the supports, all under the same roof.”
There were five food focussed seminars in the programme, starting with: ‘Developing Export Opportunities for Irish Food & Drink’ with Stephanie Moe from Bord Bia; Tom Doorley shared his thoughts and insights around getting media attention for food businesses; Caoimhe Ni Dhuibhinn from Fáilte Ireland highlighted the opportunities around food tourism; the ‘Retail Food Landscape’ in Ireland, according to the Kantar World Panel, was the topic of David Berry’s seminar and ‘Starting an on-Farm Food Business’ was discussed by Teagasc’s Eddie O’Neill.
‘Who to Talk To’ was officially opened by restaurant critic, Tom Doorley and took place at the Thurles Chamber Enterprise Centre (LIT Campus).
Further information about the year-round enterprise supports available in Tipperary is available from www.Tipperary.com and www.tnceb.ie.