Debut at the Local Enterprise Village for entrepreneur and inventor Richard Weldon

From the 19th to 21st September, the ‘Local Enterprise Village,’ managed and funded by the Local Enterprise Offices, including the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Kilkenny,  was home to 31 diverse start-ups and small businesses from all over the country. LEO Kilkenny was represented at the ‘Local Enterprise Village’ by Richard Weldon, entrepreneur and inventor of ProFitStick from Threecastles, Co. Kilkenny. Many of the small businesses were making their debut at the Championships like Richard, using the opportunity to launch new products and services to over 291,000 visitors this year.

After a horrific farm accident a number of years ago, Richard was forced to wind his business and adjust to a different life due to the arm injuries he incurred. While undergoing physiotherapy for his arm, Richard came up idea of a flexible exercise pole - The ProFitStick. The product is portable crossover training equipment that can be adapted for use as a pre-workout warm up aid. It can also be used to assist with recuperation from illness/injury. Richard first approached the Local Enterprise Office in April 2015 and has signposted to contact IT Carlow for assistance to turn his rough prototype into a commercially viable patented product.

Speaking about the opportunity for many to make business breakthroughs this week, Head of Enterprise, LEO Kilkenny Fiona Deegan Pro fit stick ploughing photosaid: “The National Ploughing Championships, Europe’s largest outdoor event, is a great PR opportunity, especially for small businesses and start-ups looking to make a big impact.  LEOs have been preparing the 31 small business owners for their involvement at the ‘Local Enterprise Village’ for months. They’ve undergone training and mentoring, and have been provided with ‘Exhibition Essentials’ so that they can maximise their sales and marketing opportunities and really get the most out of their ‘Local Enterprise Village’ involvement’.

An Tánaiste, Minister Breen and Minister Halligan were welcomed to the Local Enterprise Village by all the exhibitors. While officially opening the doors to the ‘Local Enterprise Village’ in Tullamore, An Tánaiste talked to many of the 31 small business owners, including Colm Connolly of Rucksnacks in Monaghan, which manufacture dried Irish beef snacks. Colm won the county category in the 2016 Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition. Colm spoke about the impact that winning investment funding through IBYE has had on his business saying: “IBYE was a brilliant help, and I would strongly encourage any entrepreneur with either an established business or a good idea to enter this year’s IBYE competition before the deadline of September 29th”. 

Entries for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, which has a €2 million investment fund, are open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 35 and submissions can be made via