Ciara’s Pantry Scoops €10,000 prize in Gorey Business Expo

Well, here I am eventually after coming back down to earth after the excitement of the very successful Business Expo and ‘Dragons’ Den’ style Competition. There was a fantastic turnout on the night with over 200 visitors attending the very impressive Trade Show and then the equally impressive ‘Dragons Den’ Competition.

The evening began with the members of BNI Falcon showcasing their various businesses. Also in attendance on the night were representatives from Gorey Chamber, Wexford Local Development, Wexford County Enterprise Board and Business Network International (BNI).

On arriving the first thing that was noticable was the buzz within the room. Visitors were happily chatting over cups of tea and coffee and visiting the Trade Stands to find out more about the products and services offered by the various BNI Falcon  the ‘Dragons Den’ Competition would avail of all these products and services as they formed part of the amazing €10,000 prize.

Frank Gethings, Eco Evolution & Pat Roche, Arkman Consulting

Eco Evolution Stand nicely complimented by Molloy Architecture Stand

With everyone seated the ‘Dragons’ arrived and were introduced by the MC for the night Michael Molloy, Molloy Architecture. Putting the contestants through their paces were Mary Gethings, Eco Evolution, Ferns; Deirdre O’Flynn, Spellcheck Editorial, Carnew; Fabian Doyle, Sovereign Security, Arklow & Wexford; James Doyle, Doyle Foley & Company Accountants, Gorey; John Timmons, Glasgorman Computer Services, Courtown Harbour. Michael then proceded to explain the format of the evening explaining that the contestants would each have five minutes to ‘pitch’ their business ideas and then answer the questions put forward by the ‘Dragons’.

Fabian Doyle, james Doyle, Deirdre O’Flynn, Mary Gethings, John Timmons

First up on the evening was Ciara O’Dowd of Ciara’s Pantry based in Killinierin, Gorey. Ciara’s Pantry produces a range of natural salad dressings, sweet and savoury jellies, fruit vinegars and chutneys. She supplies the local Farmers Markets and some local retail outlets.  Ciara brought along some of her samples which were thoroughy enjoyed by the hungry Dragons (some hungrier than others)! The Beetroot Chutney I have to say was to die for!

Next up to face the Dragons was Ciaran Dolan of Gorey School of Kayaking. Ciaran who has more han 28 years experience in kayaking was looking at the idea of starting a Kayaking School and introducing the sport of Water Polo to the Sunny South East. He brought along samples of his Kayaks, Safety Helmets and Paddles.

Next we had Dean Keating of Monaseed Sales who was looking to introduce the concept of a ‘Virtual Sales Team’ to help businesses make more sales.

Lynsey Moorehouse of Irish Dance Superstore was next to pitch her idea to the Dragons. Lynsey who is dancing since the age of three is now an Irish Dancing teacher who has a vision of setting up an online Irish Dancing Costume Shop and spreading her wings worldwide. She showcased some of her products and brought along her daughter and friends to model the lovely Irish made costumes.

Last, but not least was Kelly-Anne Breen of Shen Acupuncture & Shen Cosmetic Acupuncture Clinic.  Kelly-Anne explained to the Dragons why Cosmetic Acupuncture is a better alternative to Botox. It is a more natural alternative which does not leave the “Frozen Feature” look which is an all too common sight with the overuse of Botox. Overtime her idea is to expand by setting up a Franchise of her Acupuncture business.

The five contestants have to be applauded on the delivery their pitches. It is not easy to stand up in front of a large crowd,  but the five contestants presented their business ideas like true professionals. Their presentations were very professionally delivered  and well thought out. Their ability to answer the Dragons grilling questions on the spot was amazing and complimented on by the most seasoned business people in attendance.

Dean Keating ,Kelly-Anne Breen, Ciara O’Dowd, Ciaran Dolan and Lynsey Moorehouse

While the Dragons retired to choose a winner, MC Michael Molloy put three business people under the spotlight to speak about their experiences and how they are handling the current economic climate. Pat Walsh, Walsh Mushrooms ; Niamh O’Sullivan, Ruby Rouge; and Shane Byrne, Arklow Waste Disposal all emphasised the importance of being realistic about your market, being tenacious and thinking outside the box in order to survive – and thrive.

Michael Molloy, Shane Byrne, Niamh O’Sullivan, Pat Walsh

After much deliberation the Dragons arrived back and handed an envelope containing the winners name to MC Michael Molloy.  Ciara O’Dowd of Ciara’s Pantry was then announced as the winner of the €10,000 prize. Ciara was shocked but delighted and was presented with her prize by Michael McGovern, Horizon Financial and Michael Molloy, Molloy Architecture.

Ciara receiving the €10,000 prize.

In the words of Ciara after the event  ‘ Your ‘Dragons Den’ was very professional and a bit too realistic’.

The members will meet and work with Ciara throughout the coming weeks and months to help her with the various aspects of her business.

A very big thank you to all the visitors, contestants and members who made it a very successful event.

Enjoy the compilation of photos in the video below. They highlight the atmosphere of the evening and the success of the event.