LIT Tipperary (formerly Tipperary Institute) graduate, John Heney, from Kilfeacle, had to call on all the media and business skills he acquire during his four-years as a mature student of ‘Sustainable Rural Development’ at the Thurles campus when he faced the five ‘Dragons’ on RTE’s popular ‘Dragons Den’ programme recently.
Mr Heney was presenting a prototype of his gravity-powered drive-through electric-fence gate, which straight away captured the imagination of three ‘Dragons’ who made offers for a share in the gate
This led to the Kilfeacle beef farmer having to choose between ‘Dragons’ Bobby Kerr, Sean O’Sullivan and Gavin Duffy as future business partners
Even though Mr Duffy sought a greater 45pc equity in the project in return for a €40,000 investment in comparison to the lesser 30pc equity sought by fellow ‘Dragons’ Mr Kerr and Mr O’Sullivan the Kilfeacle man chose to join forces with Mr Duffy .
“It became very obvious as I was being interviewed that Gavin had a much greater knowledge of farming than the other Dragons” John said.
“I also felt that it would be much easier to work with one business partner rather that two”
John has been busy since his appearance on the programme refining and carrying out continuous tests on his gate. Not alone does the gate facilitate the free and easy movement of farm machinery around a farm but more importantly it addressed an important safety issue that arises when farmers try to prevent cattle following them through a gateway before they can get off their tractor to close it