Aiming to fast-track new and innovative businesses that can export successfully to markets around the world, Invest Northern Ireland’s latest Propel Programme embarked on a new phase this month as 26 successful candidates entered its crucial second stage. Today we are profiling Nigel Woodside and his business “Farmatic”
The future of cattle feeding…
Nigel Woodside developed his unique in-parlour feeding system after a local yeast importer approached him about finding a cost effective solution to ensuring cattle are fed consistent amounts of vitamins and minerals.
“I had been working on the project in my spare time for a number of months and had installed a prototype system on a farm in Cork. After hearing about the Propel Programme through LEDCOM in Larne I decided it was the right time for me to seek help and support so I could turn my idea into a business venture.”
The ‘Feed-x’ micro feed system can be manually operated by the farmer via a push button in the milking parlour or it can be operated automatically using a signal from the cow’s electronic ear tag or collar which is picked up by an RFID scanner. Individual or batched animals can be fed depending on the animal’s diet requirements or fodder quality. The system can dispense amounts from 1/2 gram to 200 grams in 1/2 gram increments and has a ‘real time’ animal feed data recording and storage capability.
The Propel team are teaching Nigel about all the elements involved in running his business – ‘Farmatic’ – such as managing cash flow, understanding legal implications, venture capital and product development.
“In this super technological age I’ve realised how important it is to get a new business and products to market quickly, whilst avoiding costly mistakes. The experience of the team and robustness of the Propel Programme ensures that these mistakes can be bypassed and the time to market can be compressed. Over the next few months I look forward to gaining advice and support from my mentor specifically with marketing and raising finance.”
By participating in the programme Nigel aims to be employing up to six people in three years and to be exporting products to mainland UK and Europe.