This year we did the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. The atmosphere in the RDS was amazing! Our project was called ‘Encouraging horses to eat by adding various flavours to their feed’. We conducted a trial using 110 volunteer horses to see if horses preferred flavours in their feed. We used several different flavours for our trial and we found that 70% of horses prefer a flavour in their feed. We ended up coming 2nd in our category!
We received a phone call the following morning at 7.30am from Shanghai from a Mr Michael Connolly of Red Mills [Horse feed company] wondering what our project was about! Mr Connolly then helped us turn it into a business called FenuHealth within a few weeks. Mr Connolly helped us to go to the largest Horse Trade Fair in the World, Equitana, which takes place every two years in Germany.
Before we went to Germany we met with Minister of Agriculture Simon Coveney T.D. and he launched our product for us. Elaine Hatton [Irish Thoroughbred Marketing], Ann-Marie Walsh [Enterprise Ireland] and Mari Cahalane [Head of BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition] came with us. We also met with the German Ambassador and he helped us too. Also supporting us before we travelled to Germany were the Enterprise Unit of Meath County Council, Dr Pearse Lyons of Alltech [One of the biggest horse supplement companies in the world] and Horse Racing Ireland. Enterprise Ireland were also a huge help and there marketing and design departments helped us with all our own marketing.
We travelled to Germany on Saint Patrick’s Day and Mr Connolly flew from Qatar to meet with us and he collected us from the airport. At this stage we were very excited and on the trip to our hotel and Michael taught us German like how to count and say business words like “order”, “offer” and “profit”!! He had a great laugh at how bad our German pronunciation was!
We arrived at the hotel and went for Hot Chocolate and went to bed quite early to get a good night’s sleep for the following day when we headed of for the Trade Fair.
Over the next three days we met with horse feed distributors from all over the world like The Netherlands, Qatar and Germany. Michael also introduced us to new people and we exchanged business cards. By day 3, distributors were queuing up to meet us and we were joined by an Enterprise Ireland representative that is based in Germany – she was a fantastic help with the negotiations. Our biggest success was a single order we got for 1,000 units to be delivered to the Middle East. We were delighted when the order was placed and it made the trip even better! We then flew back to Ireland and slept all the way home.
We are now selling around Europe, the Middle East and online – both on our website www.FenuHealth.com and on Facebook, please like us on Facebook – just search for FenuHealth.
A few weeks later Horse Racing Ireland and Leopardstown Racecourse offered us our own race day in Leopardstown Race Course to thank the volunteers who participated in our trial for the Young Scientist. 179 volunteers, guests and customers attended – some from Italy, Spain, Portugal and a Polocrosse team form the USA! We also got our brand ambassador ForPaddyThePlasterer, one of the best retired race horses to do a display being ridden side saddle on the night of our race meeting – RTE will broadcast this during the Horse Show in the RDS in August. We got an interview with Nationwide, At The Races and one in the parade ring as well on the night. We also launched an appeal for help with next year’s project which is based on a cure for stomach ulcers in horses – our pony had one but it disappeared after being fed with FenuHealth – we now want to do a trial and see if this can help other horses – this is next year’s project if we get selected – do you know anyone with a horse or pony with ulcers? If so, please get in touch.
As you can see, we have had an amazing experience with the Young Scientist and it is still going really well for us. We had a fantastic time doing this and we really do think that this could also happen to you! Become part of it…