New innovator

Mon, Jun 25, 2012, 01:00

Seahorse Atlantic Pet supplements

SARAH JANE OSullivan is a marine biologist with a passion for horses who has combined her two loves in a new pet supplements business – Seahorse Atlantic.

The company produces natural pet supplements based on seaweed. OSullivan got the idea for her business when working with Dingle Bay Seaweed to identify potential markets for its farmed seaweed.

Dingle Bay supplies the seaweed that forms the basis of the granulated nutritional supplement which is added to animal feed. The company currently has two supplements aimed at the equine and small animal markets respectively. In addition to making supplements, the company also produces a natural seaweed poultice for animals.

Seahorse Atlantic is a joint venture between Sarah Jane OSullivan and Michael Murphy of Dingle Bay Seaweed.The company’s products have been in development for the last year.

Funding for the start-up has come primarily from the promoters with feasibility study assistance from the West Cork Enterprise Board. The venture also got support from Board Iascaigh Mhara’s Seafood Development Centre (SDC) in Clonakilty. “I got fantastic help from Dr Susan Steele at the SDC,” OSullivan says. O’Sullivan is a recent participant on UCC’s Ignite programme (which develops budding entrepreneurs). OSullivan identified two species of seaweed with a particularly high nutritional profile. The varieties are rich in calcium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. The seedlings, which are sown in winter, take around four months to mature. OSullivan says the supplements boost the animals’ immune systems and also aid digestion and naturally condition their coats and skin and in the case of horses, their hooves.

“We use two species of kelp that have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties,” OSullivan says. “The kelp is grown on long lines suspended out at sea so the marine environment remains undisturbed and our entire process is environmentally friendly with a low carbon footprint.”

Seahorse Atlantic’s products are made and packed in-house. O’Sullivan is now actively developing channels to market. The company’s online shop is also up and running. The products will be officially launched at this years Dublin Horse Show in August.

– OLIVE KEOGH