Innovation Arena Award Winners Announced at National Ploughing Championships

Minister Richard Bruton, T.D. announced the Enterprise Ireland Toplink.ie Innovation Arena winners on Tuesday, September 23rd at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co. Laois.

The awards recognise excellence in agri-innovation and the winners were selected from a very strong entry of 80 innovative Irish companies, of whom 30 were shortlisted in July 2014 as 2014 Finalists.

The Overall Winner (pictured below) of the Innovation Arena Award was The Falcon Forwarder, the only Irish build forestry forwarder, built by Marcia Franklin, Oldcastle Co. Meath.

Minister Tom Hayes, TD with Overall Winner Darragh Hand and the Falcon Forwarder

Overall Innovation Arena Winner, Daragh Hand from Falcon Forwarded with Minister of State Tom Hayes, TD.

The category Award winners are:

Slurrysafe – Safety Award Winner;
Dairymaster – Animal Health Award winner in Established company category;
BovAlert (DIT Hothouse) – Animal Health Award winner in Startup company category;
Falcon Forwarder – Agri-Engineering Award winner in Startup company category;
Denis Doyle Engineering – Agri-Engineering Award winner in Establishing company category;
Herdwatch – Software Award winner in Established Company Category;
Farmflo – Software Award winner in Startup category;
Emarts Daily promoted by Marie Costello was named Young Innovator at the Awards Ceremony.

Commenting on the awards Minister Bruton at the National Ploughing Championships today congratulated all the winners and recognised the level of innovation in the agricultural sector. “The agri-food sector is a key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, and in the three years since we launched our plan we have seen major jobs growth in this area. The aim now is to sustain and build on this growth, by encouraging and supporting more people to start and expand businesses in this area.

“The quality of the agri-businesses on show at the Ploughing Championships today, and in particular the quality of the innovative Irish companies involved in these awards, provide great confidence for the future of agri-food in Ireland. I congratulate all involved, and look forward to working with them as they grow from strength to strength in the future”.

Justin McCarthy, Editor & Chief Executive of the Irish Farmers Journal added that: “innovation is the key to securing the future of any business and agriculture is no different in this regard. We must continue to be innovative in how we use the latest technology to reduce labour, increase productivity, and develop market share in an increasingly competitive global market.”

Anna May McHugh, Managing Director of the National Ploughing Association added: “we are delighted to work with Toplink.ie and Enterprise Ireland on the Innovation Arena. This timely initiative is a fantastic addition to the annual Ploughing Championships and we hope that it becomes an annual event.”

Denis Duggan, Regional Executive with Enterprise Ireland said: “ we are delighted to be associated with these awards and our first involvement in the Innovation Arena at the Ploughing Championships has been a great success. Enterprise Ireland looks forward to working with all the winners in developing their international business.”

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