TipperarySmall business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the food industry are gathering in Thurles on Tuesday, May 14th, for the second annual ‘Who to talk to’ expo. Organised by the North Tipperary County Development Board, the free afternoon event at the Thurles Chamber Enterprise Centre will be officially opened by well-known restaurant critic and journalist, Tom Doorley.

The main topics up for discussion in the seminar series are: Food Tourism, On-Farm Food Enterprises, Exporting, Marketing and Retail Trends. Over thirty different support agencies and organisations will have information stands at the event, including Enterprise Ireland, Teagasc, Bord Bia, Tipperary Food Producers, Fáilte Ireland, Irish Exporters Association, Tipperary North County Enterprise Board, North Tipperary LEADER Partnership, South Tipperary Development Company and Microfinance Ireland.

WhototalktoExpoTo help answer questions that small business owners might have around finance, loans and grant assistance, a special funding workshop featuring seven presentations is taking place at 2pm.

“Given the importance of the food industry to our local and national economy, and the growth opportunities for businesses in the sector, we decided to incorporate food focussed seminars and themes this year,” said Joe MacGrath, County Manager with North Tipperary County Council.

He added: “Through the joint efforts and collaboration of over thirty organisations from the public and private sector, business owners and new start-ups will be able to get valuable information, advice and guidance under the one roof.”

Rita Guinan is a member of the North Tipperary County Development Board and CEO of the Tipperary North County Enterprise Board. She said: “If you’re setting up a business or involved in a new venture, there are a lot of factors to consider with issues and challenges to overcome. The message of encouragement that we want to send out to existing businesses and new start-ups is that there are a host of enterprise supports on offer: from mentoring to training and from grants to loan assistance. The purpose behind ‘Who to talk to’ is to bring the small businesses and the support organisations together.”

There are five food focussed seminars in the programme, starting with: ‘Developing Export Opportunities for Irish Food & Drink’ with Stephanie Moe from Bord Bia; Tom Doorley will be sharing his thoughts and insights around getting media attention for food businesses; Caoimhe Ni Dhuibhinn from Fáilte Ireland will be highlighting the opportunities around food tourism; the ‘Retail Food Landscape’ in Ireland, according to the Kantar World Panel, is the topic of David Berry’s seminar and ‘Starting an on-Farm Food Business’ is being discussed by Teagasc’s Eddie O’ Neill.

Aimed at those already in business or looking to set one up, ‘Who to Talk To’ runs from 2pm to 8pm on May 14th at the Thurles Chamber Enterprise Centre (LIT Campus) with free admission. Although the seminars and talks are geared towards food businesses in particular, all small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs are invited to attend.

Further information about the initiative is available from www.Tipperary.com .


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