An Tánaiste officially opens the Local Enterprise Village

 ‘Local Enterprise Village’ is open for business at the Ploughing

An Tánaiste officially opens the Local Enterprise Village at the National Ploughing Championships and meets with 31 local businesses from around the country, all supported by the Local Enterprise Offices.

The ‘Local Enterprise Village’ was today officially opened by An Tánaiste and Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald T.D.

Supported by their Local Enterprise Office, 31 micro-enterprises from every county in Ireland, are located within the ‘Local Enterprise Village’ at the National Ploughing Championships in Offaly this week.

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An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. pictured in the Local Enterprise Village meeting a former IBYE County Winner from Monaghan, Colm Connolly of Rucksnacks. As the closing date to apply for this year's IBYE competition is Friday, September 29th, An Tánaiste and Colm were both encouraging more young entrepreneurs to apply online throughwww.ibye.iebefore the deadline.

The companies, which include artisan food and drink producers, agri-tech and machinery manufacturers, will use the Village to launch new products and services to the massive number of visitors expected.

An Tánaiste was joined at the Local Enterprise Village by Minister of State for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen T.D. and Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan T.D.

The ‘Local Enterprise Village,’ designed and built by the Local Enterprise Offices, provides these business owners with a unique opportunity where they can meet up to 280,000 visitors, make valuable sales and receive vital feedback on new products and services.

Speaking at the official opening of the ‘Local Enterprise Village’ at the National Ploughing Championships,  An Tánaiste and Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to officially open the ‘Local Enterprise Village’ at the National Ploughing Championships, and to meet with these dynamic business owners and start-ups, each of whom are working extremely hard and bringing fantastic products and services to the market. Businesses such as these are the backbone of our economy, providing local jobs for people nationwide, and many have the potential to drive export growth. The Government, through the Local Enterprise Offices, is committed to supporting small businesses and I encourage all small business owners throughout the country to talk to their local LEO about supports that are available to them in their locality.”

inister Breen said:  “It has been wonderful to see first-hand these innovative companies in the ‘Local Enterprise Village’, each of whom have been supported by their Local Enterprise Office. What better way is there to celebrate and support local Irish products than at the National Ploughing Championships. With 280,000 expected visitors over the next three days, the exposure these small companies will achieve, cannot be underestimated. Large events and festivals of this scale are invaluable, both to the local economy but also to small companies, as they act as a catalyst for the promotion of Irish business.”

Minister Halligan said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many diverse small companies from all across the country at the ‘Local Enterprise Village’ today. It’s testament to their hard work, and their dedication that they’re here presenting their products at the National Ploughing Championships, and that they have made their dreams of starting their own business a reality. Their commitment reminds us of the creativity and energy that we have in abundance here in Ireland. I wish them all the best in their future endeavours and the Local Enterprise Offices will continue to support them in whatever way they can.”

An Tánaiste, Minister Breen and Minister Halligan were welcomed to the Local Enterprise Village by Orla Martin of the Local Enterprise Offices. Speaking about the opportunity for many to make business breakthroughs this week, Martin said: “The National Ploughing Championships, Europe’s largest outdoor event, is the place to be this week, 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. We want the ‘Local Enterprise Village’ to be impactful, leading to sales growth and business breakthroughs for them all.”

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, and received IBYE investment funding from Local Enterprise Office Monaghan. Connolly spoke with An Tánaiste about the impact that winning investment funding through IBYE has had on his business saying: “Thanks to the IBYE competition, we were able to invest in a new production facility in County Monaghan, hire new staff and develop new flavours in the range. 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