About RTÉ Television
Higher Ground
Higher GroundStarts Wednesday, 8.30pm

About the Show

Higher Ground is a new exciting series which will follow the progress of eight budding entrepreneurs from all over Ireland. They possess innovative ideas and will attempt to diversify their business to beat the rapidly growing recession. Mentored by Peter Young and Paul McCarthy, who are experts in the field of farm business, they will be guided and advised on how to give their new ventures the best possible chance of succeeding.

The series is designed to motivate rural entrepreneurs to take an inventive approach to a new business and help them to turn their original ideas into reality. In this time of economic uncertainty many people are being forced to look at the resources they have around them and to come up with new ways of making money and building towards the future.

Our mentors will provide the eight businesspeople selected with an intensive, tailored service which could give their business the best possible chance of succeeding. They will guide them through creating a business plan, set out action plans with strict deadlines, help prepare a marketing and distribution plan, advise them on legal, accounting and taxation issues and help them prepare for key meetings when seeking funding or meeting potential customers. They will arrange for the entrepreneur to visit a similar business or maybe even get hands on work experience. With the entrepreneurs novel ideas ranging from duck eggs to cake toppers, Peter and Paul will do everything in their power to guide the new ventures towards victory!



Paul McCarthy:
Paul McCarthy is a Rural Business Specialist with Teagasc and has organised events and written extensively on rural business and rural entrepreneurship. He is a regular contributor on national radio and print media.

Peter Young:
Peter Young is best known for his 'On & Off the Farm' pages in the Irish Farmers Journal in which he writes weekly on innovation and starting businesses in rural Ireland.



Episode 1:

Brian Phelan is a 25-year-old based in Monaghan. He has a passion for duck eggs! Brian noticed a gap in the market over the last number of years. There is a healthy demand for duck eggs, but they are hard to track down. He purchased 20 ducks originally, and has now built up the flock to nearly 650.

Brian has reached a crucial point - How does he build the business to bring it to the next stage? His goal is to own 4,000 ducks which would make him the leading producer in the country.

Glenfin Free Range Duck Eggs,
Co. Monaghan

Ph: Brian 086 1714240


Episode 2

This week Paul and Peter tackle the Secret Valley farm - so secret that nobody knows about it!

Ann O'Connor has an open farm/visitors centre which allows people to get close to the animals. She is a busy mum and is a very pro-active woman. She has tried to make Secret Valley different to other open farms around the country.

The business is up and running, but it is not making the money that it should. Her goal is to develop the business as a working farm e.g. producing goats milk, goats milk ice cream, and she's also interested in the conservation of rare breeds.

They have 40 acres of land which is not in use at the moment, which Ann is very keen to utilise, but she needs the advice of our experts on how to maximise her profits.

Secret Valley Adventure Farm,
Coolnacon, Clonroche,
Co. Wexford

Telephone / Mobile
053 924 4023 / 087 205 0069


Episode 3

Shane produces hand-made wooden chicken coops and bird houses. His plan is to sell them directly to the customer and also to provide the hens. A recent casualty of the recession, Shane has only been in this business for a couple of months, but the business is not moving forward. He is not a farmer but is trying to sell ‘a farming lifestyle’ to the middle classes.  Shane has invested his savings into the markteting of his product and setting up a workshop to produce his masterpieces. It is time for Shane to look at his sales techniques and also his workflow & time management.

Name:                       Shane Houston
Idea:                         Chic-Hens
Location:                  Burty, Co. Donegal        


Episode 4

Liam lives on the family farm in Ballyragget in County Kilkenny with his wife Breda and their four children. Unique Inventions was formed in 1999 to develop new farm machinery ideas and sell his inventions to both the Irish and UK markets. The business is now at a level where Liam he needs to decide what to do - does he sell the rights to one of his key inventions to a major manufacturer or does he continue selling it himself? Our mentors are guiding Liam as he decides which path to take.

NAME: Liam Murphy (Unique Inventions)
IDEA: Farm Machinery Inventor
LOCATION: Ballyragget, Kilkenny


Episode 5

Rupert's story is unique - he believes he is one of the only farmers in Ireland growing hops, and he aims to set up a micro-brewery and produce a very high-quality organic beer. Rupert currently makes a living from managing the very successful Farmers' Markets in Mahon Point, Cork. Rupert's wife is a trained masterchef and together they sell their own high quality products from a stall at the market. They have a two-year-old daughter Amelia.

Rupert has built a premises on his land where he can brew but he just doesn't know what to do next! So this is where Peter and Paul come in. Our mentors are going to bring Rupert through the marketing and branding aspects, as well as the financial side of the business.

Brian with Peter and Paul
Brian with Peter and Paul
Ann O'Connor
Ann O'Connor
Chic Hens
Chic Hens
Hen House
Shane at home with hen houses
Liam Murphy
Liam Murphy
Rupert Hugh-Jones
Rupert Hugh-Jones
Rupert Hugh-Jones
Rupert Hugh-Jones