Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots MLA, recently visited two County Down businesses that received grant funding totalling almost £50,000 from DAERA’s pilot Rural Micro Business Growth Scheme.
The Growth Scheme provided micro businesses with grant support to allow for investment in innovation and new technologies so as to improve efficiency and productivity, create growth in the rural economy and/or to make a positive climate contribution.
Shanaghan Veterinary Services is located in Katesbridge and owned by Dr Esther Skelly-Smith. It is Ireland’s first equine veterinary referral service dedicated to providing an integrated approach to the veterinary treatment and care of horses.
Minister Poots said: “Shanaghan Veterinary Services received grant funding of £6,150 to purchase an innovative therapeutic laser for her veterinary practice and I have seen first hand how this will enable the business to provide an alternative to drug treatment, providing faster response and without the ongoing side effects of long-term drug use.
“This is a great example of how innovation in business can lead to growth and benefit animal welfare by providing an alternative to using drugs allowing for a faster recovery period.”
The Minister also visited Tullyraine Equestrian Clinic LLP in Banbridge. It is the only purpose-built equine clinic in Northern Ireland offering surgeries and in-patient aftercare. Grant funding of £40,000 enabled the business to purchase an innovative arthroscopy stack and flexible endoscopy system and the Clinic’s Dr Inge D’haese said that this has allowed the business to fill a gap in service provision for minimally invasive surgery for the equine industry in Northern Ireland.
Minister Poots said: “I am delighted to visit Tullyraine Equine Clinic to see how rural businesses have been able to avail of my Department’s support. I have no doubt the innovative equipment purchased will enable this business to expand their services.
“Both of these projects showcase the support my Department is providing for the equine service industry and are perfect examples of how innovation can be integrated into businesses to help them grow and ultimately become more sustainable.”