Kilkenny LEADER Partnership through its supports for individuals setting up micro enterprises under the Local Community Development Programme (LCDP) has noticed a cluster of food enterprises emerge on the Co. Kilkenny Food producer scene. The LCDP resources dedicated to the support of the movement of people who are long term unemployed in to the micro enterprise space. These resources include the support of a Development Officer – Conor Cleere, who will work with clients to develop a cohesive business plan can be used to secure a place on the Department of Social Welfare Back to Enterprise Allowance, secure credit from the Credit Union and act as a real reference point for the development of the business. Regulation and compliance is an increasingly important part of any business and none more so than in food based enterprises. The food sector is regulated by a highly complex and often inaccessible set of standards. KLP aims to support the interpretation of these standards and support people to become compliant. We also support access to financial planning and marketing mentoring in corporation with Co Kilkenny enterprise Board. We also provide a level of micro finance that support people to get started.

KLP has a strong background in the support of the development of the food sector in Co Kilkenny through the Rural Development Programme. This programme in its current round 2007 -2013/15, has supported investment in a number of food enterprises in the county, in the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival and the Town of Food Project which will be based in Thomastown.

This year Conor aims to support the establishment of 55 micro enterprises. Of these he noticed a small cluster of potential food enterprises emerge on the food scene in Co. Kilkenny. These include;

• BDK Bruce de Kocks is South African and since moving to Ireland in 2003, established himself as renowned goldsmith and jeweller based in Kilkenny. Since the downturn, he has re-established his interest in the promotion of traditional South African foods such as Boerewors – a delicious Afrikaans sausage ideally barbequed – and has established links with some local butchers to create a taste that will attract the local palate.
• Joan & Bob’s Juicy Jams. Joan Fitzgerald Cahill is an artist of some repute who also had a passion for using her garden produce to develop a range of jams, jellies and chutneys from her kitchen in Thomastown. She developed the enterprise alongside her husband, Bob (hence Joan & Bobs Juicy Jams) using as much ingredients collected from her garden and the surrounding countryside as possible to create beautiful classic jams, jellies & marmalades, butters & chutneys. Her produce is available at a number of outlets in Co Kilkenny; Goods & Glasraí in Gowran, Knockdrina Farm Ship in Stoneyford and Dingles in Dunmore east in Co Waterford. See them on Facebook.
• David Condon was self-employed in the construction sector during the boom. Following the downturn, David used his rural upbringing to create an opportunity. In 2012 he established the Red Pig in Freshford as a supplier of homemade sausages and pork burgers using his own unique ingredients and his own organically reared pigs. He has also developed a market in catering for spit roasts at functions, gatherings etc, again using his own organically reared pigs.
• George Nuaratil is from the Czech Republic. He trained at the School of Meat Technology in Prague. He specialised in artisan meats. He has worked butchering here in Ireland in particular with craft butchering family M Mullins on Friary Street in Kilkenny City. He is now looking to strike out on his own and combine his very specialised set of skills of the School of Meat Technology, his exposure to Irish butchering practices and the Irish palette to develop a range of smoked sausages and meats for an increasingly sophisticated and diverse Irish consumer.

KLP is also looking at having two further businesses at the Festival and is in the late stages of ensuring that they are ready to be able to be introducing themselves to the food audience.

Supported by KLP this group of emergent food producers will share a space at the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival in October. There they will be able to test and sell their products with up to five 5,000 potential consumers on the Saturday & Sunday of the Festival. It’s a really important opportunity to network with other producers who have negotiated the barriers involved in the establishment of a food business.