Maeve O'Keeffe, Founder, Inspect 4 Hoof Trimming Ltd
The Competitive Start Fund (CSF) for Marine Technologies and Agritech will open on 10th July. Here, Maeve O’Keeffe gives an insight into her business, and how receiving CSF helped her business.
Inspect 4 Hoof Trimming Ltd. was originally set up to manufacture and sell roll over crates. The Inspect 4 crates allow farmers, vets and hoof trimmers a safe and easy way to handle cows or bulls when carrying out routine treatments such as hoof trimming, heifer teat sealing or dosing.
I have always worked for myself as a dairy farmer. I needed a piece of equipment that would allow me to treat our lame cows on the farm. The equipment I wanted wasn’t on the market, so myself and my Dad developed a roll over crate to help reduce the physical work for me and allow me to safely treat the cows on my own. It worked so well that neighbouring farmers told us to develop it further, which we did, and today it is a successful business.
The perception of myself and my product continues to be a challenge. As a young woman, I found that other farmers wouldn’t take me seriously – until I started talking!
In terms of the crate itself, most farmers said that it wouldn’t work. The only way to convince a farmer that the crate worked was to do a demonstration on their own farm, and they usually gave me their wildest animal to put the crate to the test! It was word of mouth from these farm demonstrations that really started to build the crate’s reputation.
Applying for the CSF
I believe there is huge overseas potential for our Inspect 4 crates. However, I felt to do this, the product needed to be developed further. I wanted to develop the crate to its full potential before marketing overseas.
How did winning the CSF grow your business?
It allowed me to redesign the crate to make it more efficient and even safer to operate. This has already generated a lot more sales in Ireland and it is now almost ready for the export market. I am very excited to start marketing overseas.
Advice for someone applying for the CSF
Know your goals, know how you plan to achieve them and have a plan in place.
- Streamline manufacturing;
- Launch a new website;
- Start marketing and selling overseas, starting with the UK;
- Become the largest online hoof care suppliers in Ireland with our new online shop which will be launched this year.