Inspiring Stories & Opportunities Through Rural Entrepreneurship

May 23, 2024 | Farm Viability, Innovation

On 25th of April, CAP Network Ireland attended an event which looked at inspiring stories and examples of rural entrepreneurship in Ireland. This session was the second in a series of joint EURAGRI-led webinars by SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College), Northern Ireland’s AFBI (Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute) and Teagasc.

Host Mark Gibson, Head of Teagasc Outreach & Innovation Department, was joined by guest speakers who have embarked on unique journeys in diversifying their agricultural businesses through rural entrepreneurship pathways including Agritourism, Agricultural Technology, and direct sale initiatives. The panellists included: Noelle Casey from Knockcarrig House, Nick Cotter from Cotter Agritech; and Teresa Roche from Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese.

A key message from the discussion was that rural entrepreneurship has a strong role in supporting a just transition and transformation to sustainable farming and food systems. One of the many examples used to describe how rural entrepreneurship can support the sustainable development of the agricultural sector was in relation to creating additional income streams for farm businesses to reduce dependency on herds and therefore providing co-benefits for environmental and economic sustainability of farm businesses.

Noelle Casey from Knockcarrig house, Killarney Co. Kerry described how she and her husband, Paudie, made the decision to diversify their small dairy farm business and enter the agritourism sector. Factoring environmental challenges into their decision when planning future farm viability, they decided that instead of increasing the size of their herd, they renovated and built a self-catering accommodation on the edge of their private 20-acre farmstead, which has added an additional income stream to their family farm business while also providing guests with an opportunity to be immersed in nature and reconnect to the land.

Elsewhere in the webinar, Barry Caslin, Teagasc Energy and Rural Development Specialist, provided an insight into the various supports available for individuals wishing to embark on their rural entrepreneurship journey. Some of these initiatives which can provide access to expert advice on funding opportunities, funding support, mentoring, business advice and more include: Teagasc’s Farm business options programme; Enterprise Ireland; A variety of Incubator Programmes such as the Bia Innovator Campus; UCD AgTech Programme; and LEADER funding.

Barry recommended a good place to start on your rural entrepreneur journey is to contact your Local Enterprise Office for information on available support options.

This webinar was recorded and is available to watch back here

Image Source:

Related Articles