The majority of rural SMEs are faced with challenges such as adaptability, digitalization, connectivity, and sustainability. To remain sustainable, they need to adapt and diversify, develop in climate-smart ways, be digitally ready, and implement environmental and sustainability measures. PEAK entrepreneurs are inherently resilient and innovative providing fresh approaches but they also have to overcome certain challenges. They live and breathe environmental sustainability, cope with challenges such as remoteness, poor services, and infrastructures. They need the necessary supports so they can focus on innovative development, being digitally accessible, resourceful, and collaborative. This report assists how they can maximize their potential and realize the available opportunities and vitality of upland communities, sustainable economies and pristine environments that are uniquely available to them.

PEAK enterprises are also a potential option for rural and mountain SMEs to continue to build on and rebuild post-COVID indigenous sectors to ensure the long term sustainability of the Irish economic model. With SMEs being put at the top and centre of the effort to re-boot the economy over the coming years they will need to become even more central to policy making and development strategies.

Throughout this report, a series of measures and priority investments were identified to cover the future potential and sustainability of SMEs combating the challenges they face such as enterprise funding and supports, fiscal grants, digital investment, environmental and climate-smart initiatives, remote business and working support hubs…and more. It goes without saying for the successful development of PEAK enterprises and regions they will need a strong, consistent regional approach to nurture, support and grow them into the future.

Examples of Irish PEAK Enterprises
Building Resilience Through the Outdoors and Mountain Expeditions

1. Eweknit

Karol Devaney farms at the foot of the Benbulben Mountain, County Sligo. His entrepreneurial endeavours is an inspiring story to ‘think outside the box’ and embrace innovative diversification practices. He set up the Eweknit brand farmers in 2018. ‘I create content for farmers in the form of a regular podcast as well as supplying gear and clothing for members of the farming community too.  I intend to support worthy causes with Eweknit. The podcast is also a great way to network with and learn from smart people. I believe that efforts to make the agri-food sector more sustainable and viable by 2040 will be a big challenge, and will require some tough decisions and tremendous foresight from our policy makers..’ (Natural Rural Network)

2.  Spruce and Willow Cafe

Local food for local people

Spruce and Willow Café is run by young entrepreneurs’ brother and sister Darragh Hayes and Edel Cooke. Nestled at the foot of the Ballyhoura mountains and on the edge of the Golden Vale sets a stunning location. Their shared vision producers local, fresh, simple produce and finest local artisan coffee in a relaxed & friendly atmosphere. (Facebook)

3. Wellbeing Warrior

Outdoor Adventures and Wellbeing Excursions

Adventure and Wellbeing Excursions is owned by Blaithin Sweeney, she offers Yoga-Hikes, SUP-to-Yoga and Yoga-to-Surf. Located in Co. Sligo its the perfect location bubbling with a diverse range of activity providers, rock-climbing, biking, kayaking, free-diving and more. ‘I follow my vision of providing an ideal environment for people to learn and deepen their practice of yoga and meditation in a quality and enjoyable way’.