Plenty of cash around fo farmers
There will be €40,000 worth of prizes on offer at the 2013 JFC Innovation Awards for businesses that have been set up in rural Ireland.
The competition, launched at the National Ploughing Championships last week, is a great way of getting publicity for your existing business or progressing an idea.
Now in its sixth year, the competition has given hundreds of businesses not only a chance to win prizes but, more importantly, to improve their operations.
This year, the competition has a new category for businesses that have made the best use of social media to increase their turnover and raise their profile.
The aim is to reward these companies and highlight the potential that social media has in attracting new customers and increased business.
So, if you have a business idea or if you have already set up a business in rural Ireland, you should enter the JFC Innovation Awards.
While the winners will take away €40,000 in prizes, everyone who enters will get an opportunity to receive free mentoring for their business.
The new start-up category is a key focus. The aim is for people with just an idea to submit it to help them turn it into reality. As many previous entrants have found, the JFC Innovation Awards is the perfect place to start.
Have you used social media to help business?
If so, you should enter for a special prize of €1,000. The organisers want rural businesses that have used Facebook, Twitter or any other form of social media to reach new customers and generate new business.
It is a new angle to the competition, which realises that businesses have to use every means available to generate success.
The 2012 awards were launched at the DARD NI stand at the Ploughing by Minister Simon Coveney and NI Minister for Agriculture Michelle O'Neill.
''We are determined this year to have at least two to three businesses from every county to make the competition a truly All-Ireland affair,'' said John Concannon, JFC founder.
''Many farmers who entered in the last three years found that the competition was a real incentive to take their idea to another level.
Each farmer who entered had the chance to get valuable feedback on their business plan.
The initial mentoring aspect will be a key focus for all applicants again this year. You will benefit from it in more ways than you think.
''Achieving an award has helped many previous winners and finalists, even in areas such as securing finance, support, grant aid and opening new markets,'' John said.