‘It’s a great feeling to start your own business and see things grow’

AIB Start-up Academy finalist: Seamus Tighe of Everest Granola

Seamus Tighe: got into  the advanced programme of Bord Bia’s  food academy  and received mentorship from the Musgrave Group.

Seamus Tighe: got into the advanced programme of Bord Bia’s food academy and received mentorship from the Musgrave Group.

 

Seamus Tighe is thinking about climbing a mountain to promote his new food company. Which mountain? Look only to the company’s name: Everest Granola.

Everest has three flavours of gourmet granola cups on the market: apple/cinnamon, raspberry and honey. New flavours are in the works. There are three different types of nuts, seeds and fruit in each cup. The yoghurt is 100 per cent Irish, and the cups include a natural compote. They are high in protein and low in fat.

Tighe wants to “revolutionise breakfast on the go and change bad eating habits”.

His job has not always been creating healthy food. Tighe studied business and accountancy in college and worked in financial services for three years afterwards.

“I ended up leaving that business because I felt that it wasn’t for me. I always wanted to own my own company.”

A trip he had taken the summer after college stuck with him. He had gone to Montauk, New York, with a group of friends and managed a bar: “It was a great opportunity. It was my first experience with food, and I enjoyed the business.”

In February 2014, a friend told him about an opportunity to supply one of Ireland’s leading coffee chains with salads, sandwiches and granola cups. The friend knew Tighe had an interest in food.

Tighe knew of an industrial kitchen that was going unused and started experimenting with granola. He was “not happy” with what was already on the market and wanted to come up with an alternative that included nuts, seeds, fruit and oats.

“I set about doing some samples and sent them over to the coffee chain. I ended up getting the right to supply,” he says.

“Our ingredients are really high quality. We sourced all of them in Ireland through Irish companies.”

The product has been selling well and is stocked in the national coffee chain and select SuperValu stores across the country, after a successful pitch at the Bord Bia food academy. He got into the food academy advanced programme and has received mentorship from the Musgrave Group, which he says has been “extremely helpful” with the growth of the business.

His target customers are busy people looking for healthy grab-and-go food options. The granola cups currently sell for €2.49, but he plans to offer them for €2.00 soon.

Tighe says “it’s a meal” that “will fill you up”. “I don’t know where else you’d get that value.”

Tighe says running his own company has been challenging: “There’s something different every day. One day you could be in stores checking out the product. The next day you could be making a pitch to potential clients. It’s been very busy.

“I love being an entrepreneur. It’s a great feeling to start your own business and see things grow.”

He hopes to develop new products for the market, and he wants to make Everest a national brand.

Everest Granola is a finalist in the AIB Start-up Academy.