West Clare-based family business Wild Irish Seaweed is set to double its production and increase its workforce following a €200,000 investment.
The company, which was established in 2010 by Gerard and Eileen Talty, will be visited by Deputy Pat Breen, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection on Monday, October 23 at 12.30pm.
Based in Quilty, Wild Irish Seaweed will benefit from a €50,000 investment from Alison Cowzer of Dragon’s Den, which has been matched by a similar figure from Clare Local Enterprise Office (LEO). The Talty family are investing a further €100,000 into their business. The company currently has a workforce of 13, including seven full-time employees and six harvesters.
“The investment will upgrade our facilities, which will double our production. This will lead to us creating up to ten full and part-time jobs,” Evan Talty of Wild Irish Seaweed said.“We are delighted to have Minister Breen visiting to mark our expansion, which will create additional job opportunities in West Clare,” he added.
Speaking in advance of the announcement, Minster Breen said: “Wild Irish Seaweed is a wonderful example of how creative and innovative companies can take advantage of the local environment to create strong and successful enterprises. Companies like these not only create jobs but also add significant value to local economies that helps to ensure their long-term sustainability and strength. The expansion of Wild Irish Seaweed highlights the very valuable work of the LEO network in supporting local enterprise initiatives across Ireland. I would also like to acknowledge Alison Cowzer’s investment into the region and hope her experience will encourage other investors to pursue the very valuable opportunities available throughout the regions.”
The company was established in 2010 in the family kitchen and now operates from a specialised production facility. The family is steeped in the art of collecting seaweed but they sensed a real opportunity to expand at the start of the decade.
“My grandfather, Mickey, collected seaweed for years. We were helping him but all of a sudden, the Fukushima nuclear accident [in 2011] hit in Japan. There was a sudden surge in traffic on our website at that time as the industry in Asia was hit. We said there could be something in this, so we went to Leader and we built a €200,000 factory out of it. It just snowballed from there,” Mr Talty explained.