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New Focus for 2010 JFC Awards


JFC Innovation Awards


At the launch of the 2010 JFC Innovation Awards were Ann McKeown, DARD, John Concannon JFC, Peter Young, Harry McGaffin, Glen Tender, last years overall winner and Paul McCarthy, Teagasc.



Their is new focus for the 2010 JFC Innovation Awards. The focus is on encouraging people with an idea for a new business to enter simply by putting it down on paper. Lower commodity prices and fewer off-farm jobs are forcing everyone to become more innovative. With the economic climate, many have to re-look at their resources. Setting up a new business is now high on many peoples list, so they just need a gentle nudge. To do just that, a new start up category for people who are at the idea stage of their business has been set  up alongside the existing categories of energy/manufacturing, value added/ speciality food and services/rural tourism.

The aim is to help farmers turn their business idea into a reality. As many previous entrants have found, the JFC Innovation Awards are the perfect place to start. Take Brian Phelan of Glenfin Ducks Co Monaghan. Last year, when he entered all he had was 26 ducks and an idea to supply duck eggs. He is now farming 1,200 ducks and supplying outlets nationwide. Winning an award from the JFC Innovations Awards really helped him. The 2010 awards were launched on the Ivan McMullen farm in Carnlough Co Antrim recently. Ivan is one pf three farmers that set up Glen Tender, last years overall winners. The company’s focus is on developing a quality brand of beef in Northern Ireland. They benefited from the award and have worked hard over the past year to progress their business. Speaking at the launch John Concannon, managing director, JFC said: “Innovation has never been needed more than in the current climate. Developing new ideas and creating new business will be the stepping stone for many that will lead to a better future”. JFC is putting more resources than ever into the development of new ideas and upgrading of existing ones.

For that reason alone, we continue to sponsor the Innovation awards for Rural Business. The competition has already helped many companies, and we are delighted to encourage new entrants this year” he added.

Comhar Leader Add their resources:
The competition is again sponsored by JFC and is being run in conjunction with Teagasc, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development NI, and the Irish Farmers Journal. This year LEADER has come on board bringing their knowledge and resources. Their initial focus will be at grass roots level to encourage entrants to come forward.

They are already in contact with farmers who have business ideas and are looking for grant assistance. Many of these businesses would be ideal candidates to enter the innovations awards. It should see a more even spread of entrants from every county. Each Farmer that enters has the chance to get valuable feedback on their business plan. The initial mentoring aspect will be a key focus for all applicants this year and you will benefit from it in more ways than you think. Achieving an award has really helped many previous winners and finalists in areas such as securing finance, support, grant aid and opening new markets.

All you need to know to enter:
The total Prize fund for the JFC Innovation Awards is €40,000. This comes in the form of cash, mentoring and advertising. The Overall winner will walk away with a top  prize valued at €15,000 each.

All you need to enter is a good idea or business that is already set up. The next step is to get an entry form, which will be available from your local Teagasc/DARDNI websites. Finally all you have to do is fill out an entry form and send in a simple business plan that shows you have put a bit of thought into the idea. The competition is split into 4 categories:

  • Energy/Manufacturing
  • Value added/Speciality Food
  • Services/Rural  Tourism
  • Start-up


Any idea will fit into at least one of these categories. You can also have started your business, but you must be still be in your first five years of trading. We want innovation. We want people who are thinking differently. I know there are plenty of good business ideas and business in that area so get working. The deadline for entries is 11 December 2009. The judging will take place in late January/early February 2010 and the overall winner will be announced at a special awards ceremony on 30 March 2010. JFC is the commercial sponsor of the competition which is run by Teagasc, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development NI, Leader and the Farmers Journal.

Innovation Awards Entry Kit: JFC Innovation Awards