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Managing Directors of Keohane Seafoods from left to right Colman Keohane Mike Keohane Brian Keohane
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Minister for Enterprise congratulates Cork business on innovation award

23 Dec 2022

Keohane’s Seafood based in Bantry, has scooped an innovation award for its new product range, developed with assistance from Ulster University.

In recognition of its achievement in creating a new range with wide commercial appeal, Keohane’s Seafood has been awarded Exemplar Status by InterTradeIreland. It is one of only six businesses to be recognised in this category across the island of Ireland.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney TD said “I would like to congratulate Keohane’s Seafood on winning this award that recognises innovation and collaboration on the island of Ireland. Effective collaboration between business and higher education institutions enables the transfer of skills, knowledge and expertise which can be the foundation of real progress.”

“As Minister for Enterprise, I am committed to supporting businesses to grow through innovation. Ireland has a strong agri-food tradition and Keohane’s Seafood is a great example of the innovation that can occur in the sector.”

The firm, which supplies chilled and frozen fish to retailers across Ireland and the UK, took part in InterTradeIreland’s Innovation Boost programme. The initiative matches companies with third level institutions, and graduates. InterTradeIreland also provides funding to the businesses to help pay the graduate, who works directly with the firm to deliver new innovative products or improve processes. In this instance, Keohane’s developed a new range of smoked fish with reduced salt.

Innovation Director, Liz O’Leary says, “We found the Innovation Boost programme to be very beneficial. It was great to be able to employ a specialist graduate and to lean on the expertise of Ulster University. It is easy to apply for and I would recommend contacting InterTradeIreland if you are keen to help your business innovate. The difference the Innovation Boost programme has made to our business is very significant.”

Margaret Hearty, Chief Executive Officer at InterTradeIreland comments, “This is a company with its eye firmly on the future and open to developing new innovative products and processes. This is what the Innovation Boost programme is about - giving firms the tools to boost their business though innovative collaboration.”

“The partnership between Keohane’s Seafood, graduate Alice Clément, and the external support from Ulster University has made a real difference. There is a commercial benefit to both the company and local area. We’re delighted to recognise the firm with Exemplar status.”

Peter Mitchell, Senior Lecturer in food technology from Ulster University adds, “Keohane’s is a very innovative company, with great drive and resourcefulness. From an SME’s point of view, working with a University means you can gain valuable knowledge and additional technical experience.”

Liz O’Leary firmly agrees, “For us it was a great journey of collaboration to show us that innovation will never stop. It helped us to add a brand new ready to eat product category to our business. We anticipate considerable growth from this product category over the next five years and it will allow us to access new markets previously unattainable to us.”

For further information on InterTradeIreland and the business supports available, please visit

You can watch a video about Keohane’s and its Innovation Boost journey here.

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