A female innovator who developed an environmentally-friendly sileage pit cover has been selected to take part in a global entrepreneur program.
Marion Cantillon, who is the founder of Pit Seal, and also a researcher at Teagasc, is one of five women business owners in Ireland who have been selected for the 2023 Visa She’s next Grant Program.
Cantillon, who is from Limerick, was aware of the challenges that farmers faced and was keen to find a sustainable solution to the plastic waste and safety hazards associated with silage pit covers.
Traditional silage pit covers, such as tires or plastic sheets, have been identified as contributing to plastic pollution and can also pose safety risks.
But Cantillon’s innovation – PitSeal – is a biofilm comprising unique strains of seaweed and nutrients that form an airtight and waterproof film on top of a silage pit which can replace the plastic covering and weights.
According to Cantillon, PitSeal offers a biodegradable and compostable option for farmers that not only minimizes plastic waste “but also ensures superior silage preservation”.
One of the major advantages of the film is that it is turned consumed by the ruminant as part of its winter fodder and which helps to reduce methane green house gas (GHG) emissions.
Cantillon not only wins one year of business coaching to support, grow and expand her businesses as part of the Visa’s She’s Next Grant Program she also gets a €10,000 grant.
The entrepreneur believes this will be a “game changer” for her business.
According to Mandy Lamb, managing director UK and Ireland for Visa, this year’s applicants for the program in Ireland were inspiring.
“The doubling of entries reflects the growing momentum of women entrepreneurs in Ireland and their invaluable contributions to the economy.
“The quality of entries coming through again this year has been phenomenal. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to each of the winners and remain committed to supporting them on their journey to success,” she said.