Cantillon clan member’s can-do attitude

Cantillon: Edmond Harty was flying the flag for Ireland in Monaco last week

Cantillon has long championed Irish entrepreneurs but was particularly chuffed to see clan member Edmond Harty of Dairymaster flying the flag for Ireland last weekend at the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Monaco.

Harty’s maternal grandmother was a Cantillon and a distant relative of Richard Cantillon, the Kerry-born economist, businessman and banker after whom this column is named.

Harty was born and bred in Causeway, a small village in north Kerry about three miles from Ballyheigue, where Cantillon was raised.

The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree in relation to Harty, who developed his first circuit board as a 10-year-old and is a former category winner at the Young Scientist awards.

By all accounts, Harty made quite an impression with the judging panel, but the gong went to Turkish yoghurt maker Hamdi Ulukaya, whose Chobani business has grown from nothing in 2007 to a $1 billion (€750 million) business.

“Yerra, it would have been great to win it for Ireland but it wasn’t to be,” Harty told Cantillon after the event. “We gave it a lash and that’s all we can do.”

Harty made the most of his opportunity. With several of his key people in Monte Carlo for the weekend, the Dairymaster crew spent the four days busily networking among the entrepreneurs from the 46 other countries.

Dairymaster claims to manufacture the most efficient machinery for dairy farms and exports 75 per cent of its products.

It makes everything from milking machines and feeders to manure scrapers and the brilliantly named “MooMonitor”.

For a cow to produce milk, she needs to have a calf. The MooMonitor identifies precisely when to breed the cow and start the cycle. The data can be monitored 24-7 by farmers to ensure they don’t miss out on a heat. The modern-day farm is more about science than instinct these days and Harty is determined to extract every last ounce from the business opportunity.