The new project aimed at giving a boost to Rathdowney's economy got off to a progressive start recently.
More than 30 people attended an information evening for the Inspire Rathdowney project in the newly refurbished Rathdowney Youth Cafe on May 17.
Brian Ogilvie, Head of Research & Commercialisation, Dargan Centre, IT Carlow introduced the concept of the Inspire programme and provided context to the area of innovation to representatives from the main stakeholders, local councillors and potential participants.
Fr. Martin Delaney, PP, welcomed people to the newly refurbished Youth Cafe and training room which are based in the Old Convent in Rathdowney.
Liz Kennedy, the INSPIRE Rathdowney Project Co-ordinator with Laois County Council gave a brief introduction to the project, provided a summary of the background to the EU initiative REDZ (Rural Economic Development Zone) and the identification of Rathdowney as a REDZ area.
Liz highlighted the benefits of INSPIRE Rathdowney to the local area and how participation in the initiative would positively impact on individuals and their business/business concept and on the local area.
Denise Rainey is Business Development Officer from Laois County Council’s Business Support Unit.
“Inspire Rathdowney affords the Rathdowney area with the opportunity to invest in themselves, their business and in their local area through idea generation workshops, one-on-one mentoring, and all taking place within Rathdowney,” she said.
Anne Goodwin CEO of Laois Partnership said the project offers opportunity.
“This is a once off opportunity not to be missed, with experts from IT Carlow travelling to Rathdowney each time, to provide the support and their expertise on starting a new business or on building on existing ones,” she said
The Enterprise unit in IT Carlow work with more than 100 start-up/existing companies each year, and are also partners in the project.
A good networking session took place and Brian Ogilvie and Ailish Delaney from the Carlow college, along with Anne Goodwin and Denise Rainey, discussed and answered any queries with participants.
The event was covered by Irish TV who were also present and who interviewed a number of the project partners and potential participants.
All interested potential participants were asked to complete a preliminary application form providing a brief overview of their business, or business concept, and describing how they thought participation in INSPIRE Rathdowney would benefit them or their business.
The food for the night was sponsored by Shealagh Maher from Rosemount Catering, based in Ballacolla.
The project team are actively seeking people of all ages to participate in the programme so check out the Rathdowney Community page Facebook page or contact Liz Kennedy Project Co-ordinator if you wish to become part of this wonderful initiative.
It was anticipated there would be a confirmed list of participants by the end of May in advance of commencing the support early in June.
The support will commence with a half day workshop.
All support and training will be provided at the Rathdowney Youth Cafe.
For an application form or more information on INSPIRE Rathdowney please contact:
Liz Kennedy, Project Co-ordinator, Inspire Rathdowney, Laois County Council
To find out more on the project check out Laois County Council’s and Laois Partnership’s Facebook pages Phone: 086 174 6370; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.