A dairy farm invention with a difference

How can dairy farmers ensure their cattle receive the right volume of supplemental trace minerals on a daily basis? Two Irish brothers invented a solution. 
For the last decade, brothers Padraig and Tom Hennessey of Terra Services in Moone, Co. Kildare have innovated, laying down systems of water pipe networks, linking the parlour to the paddock for dairy farmers across the country.
More recently their sister company, Terra Liquid Minerals, has pioneered the integration of a smart delivery solution for their liquid mineral range into a farm’s water-pipe infrastructure. It is a remotely monitored solution and helps ensure that the dairy herd receives the correct volume of supplemental trace minerals on a daily basis.
The system also adjusts to the variability of Irish grass growth, local soil type and prevailing weather conditions, to help optimise herd health and performance. Padraig recounts how it all began and shares their intriguing plans for the future.
“Farmers might read about your company in the farming press, but they generally prefer to do business face-to-face.”
Starting out
In 2005 after completing an agribusiness degree in the UK, Tom returned home to Ireland to set up Terra Services, an irrigation company, initially aimed at the golf industry. Soon he was approached by some local farmers, to lay down water pipe networks on their farms. This was unique, as the only option available to farmers at the time was a do-it-yourself model. Word of Tom’s new service soon spread to the national farming press, and he decided to book a stand at the 2008 Ploughing to determine the actual level of interest among dairy farmers for his service.

At the time, I was working in Dublin launching a digital payments product. Tom asked if I could take a week’s holiday, to help him out on the Terra stand, at the following week’s National Ploughing in Co.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/terra-liquid-minerals-dairy-farming/ on

Ireland’s weird and wonderful summer festivals

With the summer upon us, so too is the festival season. Here we look at a few that showcase our nation’s fun side along with a quick guide on how to start a festival in your town or village.
The Durrow Scarecrow Festival, Durrow, Co Laois
This quirky festival is back for its ninth year from July 29- August 6. Voted Ireland’s best festival two years running, with an annual attendance of 27,000 people, it is definitely one of the summer’s most humorous festivals. Previous prize winning scarecrows included Miley Silage, complete with ball and chain, straw versions of One Direction and even president Michael D. With the much-coveted title of ‘All-Ireland Scarecrow Champion’ up for grabs, this is one everyone can get their teeth into.
Cowboys and Heroes Festival, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim
You would be forgiven for thinking you had just walked into a bar in Nashville or Memphis, Tennessee, with this bill of American and Irish country and western music, with names like Robert Mizzell, Patrick Feeney, Derek Ryan, and Mike Denver performing over the bank holiday weekend in June. So, dust off your Stetson and polish your dancing shoes for a weekend of ‘country’.
Minevention is the unofficial convention for Minecrafters with events taking place over the course of the year. There are build battles, tournaments, challenges, costume competitions and workshops, as well as the chance to meet world famous Minecrafters in the flesh. So, embrace your inner geek and dive in.
Match-making Festival, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare
Put on your cowboy boots and your best smile and head to this festival, which not only promises performances from the top names in traditional country music but speed-dating, dancing and daily match-making by the legendary cupid Willie Daly. Since he started out as a matchmaker 45 years ago, following in the footsteps of his father and

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/guide-to-irish-summer-festivals/ on

Grow your dairy farm by embracing new technology

New technologies represent the greatest opportunity to Irish agriculture as it looks to the future.

The dairy sector in Ireland is a perfect hotbed for innovation, where a combination of the industry’s enormous growth potential must be tempered with the reality of getting the job done in the most efficient way possible.

Yes, we have the land in Ireland, but matching this resource with that of driving levels of production from an expanded dairy herd needs a response that is, very much, technology-driven.

“A desire to invest in robotics may be based on the fact that the farmer wants to spend more time managing the herd rather than physically putting clusters on cows.”

The core decision to either establish a new dairy herd, or expand existing cow numbers, requires farmers to assess the milking technologies that best meet their evolving needs. As a result, we are already seeing a significant increase in the adoption of robotic milking systems on Irish farms. The same can also be said, where rotary platforms are concerned.

But each farm is different. A desire to invest in robotics may be based on the fact that the farmer wants to spend more time managing the herd rather than physically putting clusters on cows.

The rotary platform, on the other hand, may represent the best option when it comes to allowing farmers to increase cow numbers in a situation where it is extremely difficult to secure additional labour.

New technology will play a massive role the Irish dairy sector which is primed for sustained growth over the coming years. Are you ready? 

Related Resource

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/grow-your-dairy-farm-by-embracing-new-technology/ on

The Entrepreneur Experience 2018

The Cork BIC Entrepreneur Experience took place over 24 hours in Ballymaloe, Co. Cork on Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th of May 2018. The experience offered 24 of Ireland’s most promising, emerging entrepreneurs advice and mentoring from 24 of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs.
The entrepreneurs who took part in the event fell into three distinct groups:

Early stage startups – entrepreneurs with a new idea, business plan and strategy roadmap but not yet ready for investment.
Entrepreneurs with an investor ready proposition.
Entrepreneurs with an established business that are looking to scale.

The 24-hour event gave a chance for these businesses to learn from people who have been there, done that and grown a successful business. This year’s seasoned entrepreneurs included Larry Bass, founder of ShinAwil, who said, ‘This event is the best event of its kind in the country – you get to share war stories with people who have all the same bruises you have’.

Spending 24 hours with a successful mentor can transform an early-stage business. The budding founders left the Entrepreneur Experience feeling energised and motivated with a focused set of goals and practical advice on how to take their business further and for the seasoned entrepreneurs; this is an opportunity to give back.

Bank of Ireland is the proud lead sponsor of the Cork BIC Entrepreneur Experience. David Tighe, head of enterprise and innovation, at Bank of Ireland said, ‘I’ve never been at an event like this before. I’m totally blown away. This event is really focused on how people interact and connect together, how they talk to each other and support each other and how they were really willing to open up and have that conversation.’
The Entrepreneur Experience began in 2011. Since then, over 170 emerging entrepreneurs from over 10 countries have taken part. 80 seasoned entrepreneurs have also attended. The

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/the-entrepreneur-experience-2018-2/ on thinkbusiness

The historical enterprise towns of Ireland

As the search for Ireland’s best enterprise towns of 2018 continues, we take a look back at 26 of Ireland’s historical enterprise towns and the businesses they were famous for.
Ireland has a rich history of enterprise and innovation. As the search for Ireland’s Enterprise Towns of 2018 gathers pace, we compiled this list of towns in Ireland that are famous for different enterprises.
To read more about the National Enterprise Town Awards 2018 go here.
Killybegs is one of the fishing capitals of Ireland. People have eaten fish in Donegal since prehistoric times, and the evidence for sea-going boats is also ancient. By the Early Christian period, fishing was a vital occupation. Commercial fishing was well established in Donegal by the 1400s, a lot of it controlled by the Lords of Tirconaill, the O’Donnells. Today the Irish fishing fleet is made up of about 1,900 large boats.
Clones is famous for its Lace. Clones Lace is an Irish Crochet Lace and has been around since 1847. Cassandra Hand, the wife of the local Church of Ireland minister, introduced the lace, inspired by Venetian point lace, as a famine relief project to the drumlin region of west Monaghan and south east Fermanagh. Thousands of women and children, through their creative lace-making, saved their families from the clutches of death and disease during the Great Famine.
Dundalk is now a high tech hub. However, it was once famous for shoe making. Arthur Halliday opened factories in the town and during their zenith in the 1970s, he employed over 1,250 people making shoes. Halliday was born in Bramley in Yorkshire where his family had a long tradition in shoe manufacturing. He died in 1984 aged 80.
Tubercurry is famous for tool making. The Gallagher family set up the Tool and Gauge tool-making factory which exported specialist tools across

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/famous-irish-business-towns-enterprise-town-awards-bank-of-ireland/ on

Using Blockchain to help Ethiopian coffee farmers

Moyee is the world’s first FairChain coffee brand. Based in Amsterdam, Addis Ababa and now Dublin, the provocative coffee company is on a mission to transform global coffee to a fairer, more transparent industry. Shane Reilly, who brought Moyee to Ireland, talks to ThinkBusiness.


What does Moyee Coffee do that’s different? 

Most of the value-added aspects of Moyee’s coffee production take place in Ethiopia, including roasting, and because Moyee pays coffee farmers 20% above the market price, they have access to the country’s best coffee. The combination of premium coffee and a progressive social and economic agenda is behind the company’s tagline: ‘Radically good coffee with radical impact’. A cult coffee brand established in the Netherlands, Killian Stokes and I brought the FairChain movement to Ireland in late 2016.

“We see our social mission as being central to our business.”

Helping the coffee farmer

By roasting our coffee in Ethiopia, we ensure more of the value of coffee stays in the hands of those who contribute most to coffee production. Coffee production is notoriously complex and involves countless middlemen, each taking a piece of the pie along the way. Coffee farmers are always at the short end of the stick. Currently, only 2% of the added value of every cup of coffee ends up in the pockets of coffee producers.

In a similar way to other campaigning brands like Patagonia, we see our social mission as being central to our business. Customers want to know where their products are coming from and they are starting to see through corporate social responsibility box ticking. Our ultimate aim and brand promise is to create a true 50/50 partnership with coffee-producing countries like Ethiopia.

Why Ethiopia?

Ethiopia is the birthplace of Arabica coffee and grows some of the best coffee in the world. It’s also a symbol of many of the problems with the coffee industry.

Despite being Africa’s biggest coffee exported, Ethiopia makes just shy of €800 million per year. At the same time, it has to rely on nearly €3 billion in development aid from the international community. If Ethiopia exported roasted, branded speciality coffee – like Moyee has started to do – it would triple its income overnight and rapidly reduce its reliance on development aid in coffee-producing regions.

A major point we make, however, is that this trade should be based on quality not charity. This is why when we do a free tasting for a potential office customer, we always start with the flavour and taste of our coffee.

“All Moyee’s coffee will be fully blockchain-traceable from the washing station in Ethiopia to our retail and office customers in Europe.”

How does FairChain work?

Since early November, we have been running a pilot project in Ethiopia with blockchain pioneers bext360 and the FairChain Foundation to prove more than ever that coffee is capable of leading the way to a more honest, fairer society.

We’ve been following the progress of our coffee through the supply chain since November. The first step in the chain was real-time payments to Ethiopian farmers for their coffee cherries. This blockchain project will mean all Moyee’s coffee will be fully blockchain-traceable from the washing station in Ethiopia to our retail and office customers in Europe.

The next phase of this project is really exciting as you have the ability to use tokens to ‘Tip the farmer’ directly from a consumer to a farmer’s digital wallet in Ethiopia. This has the potential to connect customers and producers like never before.

“The average coffee farmer in Ethiopia earns about €480 a year, even with the premiums we pay, and we can start to have a radical impact in coffee-growing regions by increasing this to €1,000 per year.”

What is the USP?

A physical blockchain token – or a scannable code – on a coffee bag or on your take away cup would allow customers to see who their farmer was, what we paid them and how much added value we leave in Ethiopia by roasting there.

This allows a sceptical consumer to see that their coffee is actually fair, from where we said it was and in the top 5% of beans.

The average coffee farmer in Ethiopia earns about €480 per year, even with the premiums we pay, and we can start to have a radical impact in coffee-growing regions by increasing this to €1,000 per year. Being able to offer our customers blockchain tokens to crowdfund towards an infrastructure project or to help farmers upgrade equipment and improve yields is our ultimate aim and an important part of our FairChain principles.

“We’re on a mission to bring speciality coffee into the workplace.”


We’re on a mission to bring speciality coffee into the workplace and that’s our main channel for the company in the next year. We’ve had great success in 2018 with co-working spaces and recently became the coffee partner for both The Tara Building & DogpatchLabs in Dublin. We’ve had good traction with tech companies like Groupon, fellow social enterprise FoodCloud and as well as creative agencies.

With a new eCommerce site about to be launched, we’re also looking to bring on board more subscribers who join our FairChain Coffee Club and get a fresh coffee delivery each month.

Moyee is also launching a ‘One million cups revolution’ in May to show exactly the impact of one million cups of FairChain coffee would have in Ethiopia. We think this campaign will bring on board companies who want to contribute to this impact.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/moyee-is-the-worlds-first-fairchain-coffee-brand/ on

14 of the best startups in Ireland

Here are fourteen of the most promising new businesses to emerge from Ireland over the past few years.
The winners at the 2018 National Startup Awards, powered by Bank of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, represent some of the best new businesses in Ireland across thirteen categories including tech, retail, product and tourism.
Early stage startup Nova Leah won the Grand Prix Startup of the Year award and a €10,000 cash prize. 
Croí Valve, which won in the early stage startup category, received €5,000 to support the development of its business.
The 14 gold award winners are:

Croí Valve, the early stage startup winner, is developing a safe, effective and easy to deliver device to significantly reduce tricuspid regurgitation in high-risk patients
Nova Leah, the emerge-tech startup and Grand Prix winner is the first expert cybersecurity system for medical devices.
ID Pal, the fintech startup winner, provides a simple identity verification solution that allows businesses to onboard customers quickly and easily. 
Hexafly, the agritech startup winner is developing new material sources for the aqua feed, chitin and plant nutrition industries
Coindrum, the travel and tourism startup winner, provides airport self-service units that turn leftover coins into duty-free vouchers worth 110% of deposits. 
Strong Roots, the food and drink startup winner, is a food company ‘hell-bent on revolutionising frozen vegetables through innovation’.
myAccessHub, the social and sustainable startup winner, helps businesses become more accessible.
Nasal Medical, the product and manufacturing startup winner; designs nasal filters.
SalesOptimize, the eCommerce startup winner; provides eCommerce data science that can reveal an entire market. 
Ronocco Style, the retail and fashion startup winner, is a fashion business run by Pippa O’Connor and Brian Ormond.
iKydz, the tech startup winner, provides a variety of tools to help parents keep their children safe on the Internet.
Hooke Bio, the medtech startup winner, is a new company operating in the early stages of drug discovery. 
AudiosourceRE, is the

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/best-startups-ireland-national-startup-awards-bank-of-ireland/ on thinkbusiness

Design Thinking is the heart of innovation

Denis Hayes is the MD of IRDG (Industry Research & Development Group). Ahead of the Design Thinking Ireland annual conference, he describes why Design Thinking is used by all of the world’s top firms to drive innovation.
What is the IRDG? 
The IRDG acts as the voice of industry RD&I in Ireland, it supports members to avail of relevant funding opportunities for innovation, brings companies together to share learning and experiences, promotes collaboration between industry partners and the third level sector and facilitates best practice learning and innovation capability in organisations. This is where the likes of Lean Product Development and Design Thinking fit in.
“It made me realise that design thinking could be used as a strategic means to stimulate innovation.”
Design Thinking has been a fundamental part of your agenda for many years, why are you ‘believers’?
My own awareness of Design Thinking really grew about five years ago when in Sydney attending the annual conference of the Hargraves Institute. Design Thinking was a dominant theme at that conference among manufacturers, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, all speaking about how they have integrated design thinking into their innovative approach. In particular, I met Darrell Mann who had been bringing this Design Thinking approach to many leading international companies. That experience made me realise that design thinking could be used as a strategic means to stimulate innovation. It was about using the approach and mindset of designers in the innovation process and how it could deliver powerful results.
Over 300 executives have been trained on the IRDG Design Thinking Programme / Masterclass which has been run twice per annum in partnership with Design Innovation Maynooth.
A special interest group (SIG) has been running for companies who are practising Design Thinking with visits to appropriate venues such as Airbnb, Dog Patch Labs, SAP, Fidelity Investments and later

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/design-thinking-ireland/ on

Smart Sandyford – strategies for successful innovation

On Wednesday, May 23, the Smart Sandyford meetup will address how firms can increase agility, accuracy and responsiveness to rapidly changing market trends.

Businesses have never had more opportunities to harness breakthrough innovation, but in parallel, the risks of failure have increased. As technology underpins significant changes across biotech, medtech, fintech and many other industries, how can organisations plot a path to successfully navigate the development path of new products and services to stay ahead of the curve? Register now. 

The panel

Hosted by Smart Sandyford’s ‘Skills & innovation champion’, Eoin Costello, the panel of experts includes:

  • Paul Farnan – Microsoft
  • Jamie Tallon – ICON
  • Florence Irwin – SNP Communications
  • Bartley Doyle – Accenture

Who should attend? 

The meetup is free to attend and will be of particular interest to:

  • Business owner/managers
  • Coders/developers
  • Project managers
  • Product development teams
  • Innovation managers
  • IT staff

Space at this free event is limited, please register now. 

May Smart Sandyford meetup


Sandyford Smart Innovation Taskforce (an initiative of Sandyford BID) is committed to strengthening the digital community in Sandyford, helping business upskill for the capabilities needed in the smart era and helping companies in traditional sectors in the district leverage the benefits of digital transformation and collaborative innovation.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/smart-sandyford-meetup-agile-innovation/ on


What does Donegal have to offer for businesses and startups and what business supports are available to entrepreneurs in this wonderful North West county? 


This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/thinkdonegal/ on thinkbusiness