InnovateUs – Crawford’s Rock (Kilkeel) and Southern Regional College


Traditionally our ancestors foraged the
beach here for seaweed and they would have used that for a cure and remedy to
coughs and flus. It was full of vitamins and trace minerals, so we wanted to bring
some of that tradition back to life. We set up our seaweed company called
Crawford’s Rock Seaweed Company. We needed help with our nutritional values, our
labeling. We needed to help to scale up the product, help to test the market, so
we needed an expert in that field. We did the InnovateUs program, which is a
one-to-one mentoring program funded by the Department for the Economy. For Crawford Rock we took them through the NPD process. I would come up to Michele,
or she would come down to the college and I would train her up in all the
skills she would need to take a product from concept to launch, the whole way
through the new product development process. We would gather the rock lava,
serrated wrack, kelp, sugar kelp and Carregeen moss and then we would dehydrate this. We would use this then to make salts, kelp
capsules, shots, we would infuse oils with it. InnovateUs has made our
product retail ready. It has really helped us improve our business. Without
them we wouldn’t be in shops at the minute and we were able to get the
product onto the shelves for the Christmas market We would like to see our business grow
in the future. We have some plans to wood work and in partnership with other companies.
And we’re doing foraging workshops, we’re trying to educate people on the beach
and how important it is to preserve this and how important it is to cook with
seaweed with us. This project was an excellent one, very interesting. I think
we maybe got six different products to launch in a very short period of time
and we really banked an awful lot of other ideas as well. We’re going to try
and develop a seaweed popcorn. We’re also going to develop an artisan seaweed chocolate
and we’re also going to look at a Kombu tea. InnovateUs has pointed us in the
right directions and sign posted us to other outlets, especially in the light
of nutritionals, labeling, packaging and just getting the product up and running.
If you have passion, are you willing to work hard? Then you should work with
InnovateUs.

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