Funding for Food Businesses

The Funding for Food Businesses information session took place at the Ballybay Food Hub.  This was collectively organised by the Food Hub, Monaghan Local Enterprise Office and Monaghan Integrated Development.

This was an opportunity to hear what exactly the funding options are available for Micro and SME food businesses.  Presentations were given by Monaghan LEO and LEADER (Monaghan Integrated Development).

Some examples where businesses received support in the past include;

  • Consultancy support in regard to New Product Development.
  • Equipment to support the development of new product categories
  • Expansion of manufacturing facility producing nutrition products aimed at healthy snack market.
  • Processing equipment and storage to support business expansion.
  • Assistance to artisan food producers participating in food festivals.
  • Product design and marketing of premium confectionery products.
  • Technical training for artisan, micro and small food businesses.

Food Photography & Styling for Social Media

The food photography and styling for social media took place some time ago at the Food Hub in Ballybay.  This workshop was run by Monaghan Local Enterprise Office.                The course Trainers were Lens & Larder

The course was aimed at food service businesses to inform them on how important taking photos of their work is for social media.  Attendees had the opportunity to learn from experienced photographers and stylists Imen Mc Donald and Cliodhna Prendergast.

Imen and Cliodhna delivered a masterclass in smartphone food photography and styling for social media. The team introduced participants to essential food photography tips, natural lighting, styling techniques, various shooting styles and photo editing techniques necessary to make mouth-watering food photos for their product or business.


Enterprising Monaghan hosts Instagram for Food Businesses workshop

Instagram for Food businesses took place at the end of June.  This workshop was run by Monaghan Local Enterprise Office and facilitated at the Food Hub in Ballybay.  This was attended by restaurant/hotel owners as well as a broad range of food producers.

The workshop covered all aspects of using Instagram to market a food business large or small, from hospitality to production. It covered in detail the mechanics of the platform itself, including organic content and paid advertising, and the benefits of Stories vs. Feed content vs. IGTV.

Content creation and curation was a key focus of the workshop, with guidance given on what to create and share, as well as how to present it in a way that is appropriate for each business. This included how to develop and foster a tone of voice for the individual brand that works for different social media channels, and how to tailor that tone to each audience.

Enterprising Monaghan Facilitates Level 3 HACCP Course

Brendon Goodrich of Goodrich training conducted the Level 3 HACCP Course at the Ballybay Food Hub over three full days.

The Level 3 HACCP (food safety management) course, is externally certified by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH). The course is designed to comply with the requirements of Irish and European hygiene regulations, as well as certification schemes such as BRC.

In attendance were a broad spectrum of individuals from the food sector to include Restaurants, catering businesses, shop and deli owners to name a few.

Contact Details as follows:

Brendon Goodrich

Goodrich Training & Consultancy



Co Cavan

Tel: +00 353 49 4362904

Mobile: +00 353 87 2729918

What it takes for a food business to succeed

Food businesses are looking to diversify their product offering. The agri-food industry in Monaghan is Ireland’s leading producers of eggs, mushrooms and processed meats – to name but a few.

Many of our indigenous entrepreneurs hail from a farming background. so problem-solving and hard work are deeply ingrained. However, it takes a whole lot more to establish a successful food business and there are certain traits I spot time and time again.

Leading food producers satisfy a genuine need or gap in the market. Ireland is a relatively small country and margins are extremely tight, so it pays to think beyond the domestic market. Is there likely be demand for your product elsewhere?

Being canny when it comes to costs, particularly at startup stage, can give food businesses an edge. Using a test kitchen, such as the state-of-the-art facility Enterprising Monaghan manages in Ballybay, allows fledgling businesses to come in and use commercial-grade kitchens for a fraction of what it would cost to purchase their own equipment.

Larger businesses have also made use of the facilities for new product development purposes.

You will eat (literally), sleep and breathe your food business – so passion for your product is a must. If you aren’t 100% happy with the product, how can you expect to sell it to somebody else? Taking the time at the product development stage, to tweak and make absolutely sure you are completely happy, will pay dividends later.

Tastes change, not just in terms of what we eat but also how we eat: successful food businesses are prepared to adapt in response to this. They are also prepared to take risks and to make mistakes.

There are some amazing supports out there for food startups in Ireland. Bord Bia and Local Enterprise Offices offer a range of programmes and courses to help food businesses at all stages. Asking for help and advice is far from a sign of weakness – drawing on the experiences and expertise of peers, can really help to take your business to the next level.

– Siobhan Sherry (pictured) is Marketing and Food Development Officer at Enterprising Monaghan

Enterprising Monaghan – Welcomes Ulster Scots Agency Board to M:Tek

The Monaghan County Enterprise Board (T/A Enterprising Monaghan) were delighted to recently host a Board Meeting of the cross border Ulster Scots Agency at their M:Tek building in Monaghan Town. The Agency was set up under the auspices of the Good Friday Agreement representing the Ulster Scots community throughout Ireland. After their Board meeting in Enterprising Monaghan’s M:Tek centre the Agency’s Board members met with senior council officials for a tour of the County Museum and the proposed Peace Campus in Monaghan Town.

5 Minutes With… Noel Kellett, Computershare

Leading global financial administration firm, Computershare, has clocked up over ten years at M:TEK. Software development manager, Noel Kellett, tells us how the company has benefitted from Monaghan’s huge talent pool and that they are excited to be further growing their business here.

What does Computershare do?
Computershare is a global market leader in transfer agency and share registration, employee equity plans, mortgage servicing, proxy solicitation and stakeholder communications. We also specialise in corporate trust, bankruptcy, class action and a range of other diversified financial and governance services.

How many staff does the company employ?
We have 30 staff members in Monaghan, 80 in Ireland and 16,000 in total worldwide.

When was the company established?
We were founded in Melbourne, Australia, in 1978, and have been listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) since 1994. Computershare has had a presence at the M:TEK for over a decade.

Why did you choose Monaghan as a business location?
Monaghan has a huge talent pool, and we’ve benefited a great deal from the skills available locally.

What is it like working in M:TEK?
M:TEK provides great facilities for our staff members, including onsite bike storage and showers for those who cycle to work. The building management team are always happy to help out and solve any issues, and it’s a really friendly place to work and visit.

What are your company’s plans for the future?
We are continuing to invest in the office at M:TEK and have a number of open positions. We are looking at around a 10% increase in headcount, so exciting times are ahead!


5 Minutes With… Gordon MacArdle, Rocas Training & Business Development

5 Minutes With… Gordon MacArdle, Rocas Training & Business Development

The C:TEK building in Carrickmacross is home to a diverse range of businesses, from hot-deskers to established companies with multiple locations. C:TEK tenant and owner of Rocas Training & Business Development, Gordon MacArdle, talks of the company’s expansion into the UK market, and tells us what makes Carrickmacross an attractive business location.

Moussa and Gordon, Rocas Training & Business Development

What does Rocas Training & Business Development do?
We are a Business Training and Management Consultancy specialising in Sales, Marketing and Business Growth.

Whatever stage the business is at, be it Start-up or established, we put in place strategic plans to help businesses grow.
Since starting in 2015, we have successfully worked with many businesses, assisting over 60 Start-ups and working with many Developing Businesses on Expansion plans. We have also dealt with large projects putting in place business development programs that have lead to significant business growth.
Our approach is a practical one. We not only put the processes in place, we also work on a practical level with the people in the organisation to help deliver the results. Behind everything we do is our focus on training people so that when we have completed our work, there are people in place who can continue with the new way of working & deliver results in the future.
In 2017, we established a Digital Marketing service, offering Web Design, SEO, Social Media Marketing and Web Analytics to our clients.
When was the business established? 
April 2015
Why did you choose Carrickmacross?
Apart from being my home town, I was born and raised here and moved back full-time in 2010, Carrick is a great business town. The town is always busy and has a reputation for being a busy market town. The Chamber of Commerce are very active and there is a great business feel around Carrick.
What’s the best thing about being located in Carrickmacross?
We are almost right in the middle between Dublin and Belfast. From the office, the airport is a 50 minute drive. We have lots of potential business on our doorstep, Monaghan is a very enterprising county. We are also close to Cavan, Navan, Dundalk and Drogheda, all big towns with lots of business potential.
What is it like working in C:TEK?
C:TEK is great, it’s modern, clean and professional. There are other great businesses located here. A good friend, Dominick Treanor is across the hall and I can pop up to [fellow C:TEK tenant] Niall Carolan for a chat (or an argument) about Football.
What are your company’s plans for the future?
We are focusing on growing our client base at the minute, both for Training and Consultancy. We are also putting a big effort into growing our Digital Marketing business. We are researching the best methods and working a lot with Digital Marketing experts to make our methods more effective. Our plans are to expand our Training Business and hire more Trainers in 2019 and we are looking at exporting our Digital expertise to the UK. We have recently started working for clients in London and plan to expand on that.
Find out more at

Most Promising Female Entrepreneurs in Monaghan

In recognition of National Women’s Enterprise Day, we take a look at some of County Monaghan’s most promising female-led start-ups:

Storming the international online beauty retail sector, was set up by Monaghan native, Blanaid Johnson. The Castleblayney-based company employs fifteen full-time staff and ships to over 40 countries from its state-of-the-art HQ.

Eavan Rooney, founded Thrive Occupational Therapy in 2014. A specialist paediatric consultancy, Thrive serves children from all around Ireland from its Clones Business Technology Park base. Its custom-built clinic offers access to individual assessment or therapeutic intervention as well as education and training services from a highly specialised paediatric occupational therapy team.

Avail Support provides life-changing software, enabling people with autism and intellectual disabilities to lead more independent lives. The company was set up in 2015 by Lisa Marie Clinton, a former regional winner in
Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition. From a hot-desk in C:TEK, the company has grown to a team of seven, having signed up eight organisations in Canada earlier this year.

Family-run food business, Baked With Love, is run by Mila Khokha. The company recently expanded into a 500-sqm facility in Monaghan Town and secured a contract to supply Lidl Stores throughout Ireland

Adrienne McGuinness is co-owner of the Nest Box Egg Company, which produces over 3.5 million eggs per week from free-range hens. The company exports to international markets including the Middle East and was recently shortlisted for a National Organic Food Award for its Golden Irish Egg brand.

Speak to Enterprising Monaghan to find out more about supports available for starting your Monaghan business.

Border Bizcamp… What to Expect

Border Bizcamp is back, and attendees can once again expect a day jam-packed with positivity and business inspiration.

Whether you are in business in Monaghan or elsewhere, or thinking about setting up a business, there is something for everyone in the varied programme of talks.

Keynote speakers this year include journalist Vincent Browne, who will be speaking about how business success is always a collaborative endeavour; and Monaghan native, banker-turned-business coach John McCormick, who was recently appointed a non-executive director of the National Bank of Greece.

The remaining 18 talks are split across three themes with three talks taking place at any one time, giving you the chance to hear 8 speakers in total, including the two keynote talks. View the full lineup and schedule of talks here. This year’s themes are:

Once Upon a Time, a series of inspirational stories from business owners such as: Paddy Matthews from Matthews Coaches, whose coach hire company has grown from a second-hand 16-seater minibus to one of the biggest fleets in Ireland; and Eavan Rooney, founder of Thrive Occupational Therapy, a specialist paediatric consultancy which serves children from all around Ireland from its Clones Business Technology Park base.

Into the Future, examines future trends, growth possibilities, directions, opportunities and business ideas. Aidan McKenna, regional director for Enterprise Ireland imparts his own experience of cracking the US and Middle Eastern markets whilst at Combilift. Monaghan student, Paul McPhillips, will talk about reaching the finals of the Student Enterprise Programme earlier this year, with his concept, Freeflow Bunkers. The Digital Bakery founder, Gwen Noone, is to discuss future trends in social media and how to stay ahead of the curve.

Mind People, Mind Yourself promises to arm you with the practical tools, techniques and how-tos, focused on you, to make your business even better. Talks cover a diverse range of topics, from stress management and how to create a happier workplace, to harnessing diversity in organisations.

Border Bizcamp takes place at Monaghan Institute on Saturday 22ndSeptember. The day-long event is free to attend and includes refreshments and lunch. Pick up your ticket here.