Niall Harty, Director, Harty Nutrition Ltd
Harty Nutrition Ltd manufactures industry-leading health food snacks and bars. The brand, Origin Clean Protein Bars, was founded on the belief that sports nutrition products should consist of real food, pronounceable ingredients and be made in a kitchen rather than a lab. The company is on a mission to change how people view and eat protein bars.
The inspiration for Origin Bars grew from a deep frustration with the lack of any real food products in the protein bars category. I knew I had the ability to change this, and I could see from research that market trends were moving in this direction, so I committed to the idea and made it my mission.
The usual obstructions hit the business in its first year such as cash flow, being under-resourced and constantly figuring out how to overcome unplanned obstacles. Although we knew we were offering something different, and our customers could see the point of differentiation, it took some time to convince retailers and distributors that this product was going to thrive on shelves. Collecting real-time data on product performance, and recording as much consumer feedback as possible and reacting to this feedback has proved our value to retailers and helped set us up for the future. This is a process we will constantly undergo.
Applying for the CSF
We knew we were building an ambitious globally-focused business, however, we lacked funding and credibility; so, the CSF was one of our main priorities.
Winning the CSF was a huge achievement for us. It provided us with not just funding but the stamp of approval from Enterprise Ireland that opened many business doors for us. I really believe that we wouldn’t be in the position as we are now if we hadn’t applied.
Advice for applying for CSF
Really understand your marketplace, be strong on your key competitive advantage, and have evidence in your business plan to back up your financial projections. But most importantly you need to convey why you are the right person or team to pull this off.
Enterprise Ireland has great information on their website on what they look for during the CSF application process. This should help form the basis of your strategy for applying, and hopefully pitching for the CSF investment.
What’s next for Harty Nutrition?
Upscaling the business to produce at a high volume and meet the demand in the marketplace. However, this comes with large financial requirements, and thus we will be opening a fundraising round, and ultimately applying for HPSU.
Interested in applying for the Competitive Start Fund – Graduate Entrepreneurship? Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply here