Falkiner in line for top award for invention

Falkiner Small.
Falkiner Small.

A Lurgan farmer has been named on the shortlist for a prestigious 2018 Amazon Rural Business Award.

Falkiner Small’s Gaffer Staples has been shortlisted in the Best Rural Start-up category at the 2018 Amazon Rural Business Awards regional finals, taking place at the Kimnel Hotel in Abergele in October this year.

The regional final will see businesses compete for a place in 2019 national finals. Gaffer Staples is the only regional finalist from Northern Ireland and will go up against rural businesses from Wales for the award.

Falkiner has been shortlisted for his Gaffer Staples invention; a hammer-less staple designed to make life easier for busy farmers and DIY enthusiasts.

The local man started the business in the summer of 2017 after spending a lifetime on his farm grappling with traditional staples.

After thinking about a solution that would be easier to use and more effective at fencing fields or repairing existing fences, Falkiner did some experimenting, and Gaffer Staples was born.

The local farmer now sells the revolutionary staples to customers locally and across Europe, and it’s this success that has attracted the attention of the judges at the 2018 Amazon Rural Business Awards.

Falkiner said: “It’s absolutely brilliant to be on the shortlist for a 2018 Amazon Rural Business Award and I’m really looking forward to the regional final. To be the only business in Northern Ireland that’s shortlisted is a huge honour for me and it’s great to have my work recognised by companies like Amazon and organisations like the Rural Business Awards.”

Doug Gurr, Amazon UK Country Manager, said: “Falkiner is a great example of how rural entrepreneurs are using invention and creativity to solve problems, sell products and create successful businesses.

“At Amazon, we want to shine a light on businesses like Gaffer Staples and we’re looking forward to celebrating rural companies of all shapes and sizes at the 2018 Rural Business Awards regional finals in October.”

Falkiner has developed two products – the Gaffer Staple and the Gaffer 8. They’re zinc plated staples, designed for use with a rechargeable drill and fitted with a magnetic holder to which a pozi-drive screw and the staple is attached.

They’re designed to replace traditional fencing staples and can be used and re-used without damaging wires. They can be attached by a farmer working alone. The Gaffer Staple is used for intermediate posts and the Gaffer 8 provides extra strength for use on an end post.

The staples can be easily attached to a hawthorn bush or a sapling where it is impossible to hammer in a traditional staple. The staples can also be used to attach weldmesh and expanded metal to wood and metal frames to make cages, pens and animal runs.

The Rural Business Awards 2018, in partnership with Amazon, will mark the Awards’ fourth year of celebrating the success of businesses across the UK’s rural economy – a segment which employs in excess of 3.4 million people in over 750,000 businesses in England alone.

The awards are organised by rural business for rural business, with winners in the 13 categories - ranging from Best Rural Start-up and Outstanding Rural Diversification Project; through to Best Rural Professional Services Business and Rural Education or Training Business - decided by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations.

For the first time since launching in 2014, the Rural Business Awards will host a series of regional finals in the North, East, Midlands, South East, South West, Wales and Northern Ireland, throughout October 2018, ahead of the Grand Final next February, where winners from each category in every region will be announced.

The Rural Business Awards Grand Final will take place on February 28, 2019.