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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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How a cancer diagnosis inspired this woman to start her own business

A cancer diagnosis can turn anyone’s life upside down, but for entrepreneur, Lynette McHendry, such a diagnosis has spurred her into starting her new business.

Deciding on a business idea, and starting a business can seem overwhelming and complicated. There are so many things you must consider.

With the help and support of Invest NI and Meat Technologist, Hayley O’Neill based at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise’s (CAFRE’s) Loughry Campus, Spear & Arrow was launched.

Back in November 2019, Lynette decided that she needed a new focus in life. Her motivation was to help others make healthier choices and for them to consider incorporating delicious bone broths into their daily regimes.

Spear & Arrow broths are produced using bones from local, Northern Irish, grass-fed cattle, and products are free from additives, preservatives, salt, and sugar. Broths are low in fat and high in protein.

The bone broth can be heated and consumed as a warm beverage, or it can be added as an ingredient to a wide range of cooked meals.

Starting up business 

Spear & Arrow came to Loughry Campus in February 2020 with an Innovation Voucher funded by Invest NI and met Meat Technologist, Hayley O’Neill.

Hayley outlined that the project involved reviewing recipes and conducting pilot-scale trials using the Food Technology Centre’s specialist equipment.

“In developing prototype products, we were able to support the company in establishing processing and packaging methods.”

“Other elements of the project included validation of product shelf life, determining nutritional information, and establishing ingredients declarations.”

“The support I have received from Hayley at Loughry Campus has undoubtedly helped me take my idea and make it a reality.” Lynette McHendry added.

“Hayley’s knowledge, expertise and very approachable nature have made the whole process much less overwhelming. The Invest NI funded Innovation Voucher supported my trials at Loughry, which has contributed to a successful launch.”

More information

If you would like more information about developing a food product contact or food industry training courses, contact CAFRE’s Food Technology Team at [email protected].

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