EIGHT leading businesses have been selected as winners at the Munster final of the 2010 Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards, which took place at Thomond Park in Limerick.
The awards are in association with the Irish Independent, Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland. Each Munster winner will now go on to the all-island final in April.
A total of 390 businesses from the north and south entered this year's awards, with the Munster winners selected from a shortlist of 85.
The judging panel was made up of Ulster Bank director Sam Beamish; Enterprise Ireland's Mid-West director Jerry Moloney; Paddy Savage of InterTradeIreland; and Pat McGrath, chief executive PM Group. Cork's Thinksmart Technologies, which specialises in software for the advanced analytics space, took home the prize for Innovation and Emerging Technology.
The International Business Award went to Advanced Manufacturing Control Systems while Clonmel Chamber of Commerce picked up the Social Entrepreneurship Award.
Clare Spring Water claimed the Best Business Start-Up gong. The firm was established in 2009 after its founder, Paul Connellan, received €200,000 from Clare Local Development to supply the county with its bottled spring water.
The Family-Run Business Award went to Grainger Sawmills and Cork-based Eirebloc won the Green Business Award. The company conducted in-depth research into new ways of cleansing waste wood in preparation for use as a recycled raw material.
Glenilen Farm has been producing artisan dairy products since 1997 and it claimed the Agriculture, Food and Drink prize.
Finally, the Barry group won the award for Best Service Business. Established in 1955, the group operates in the areas of retail grocery franchise, the provision of hardware and electrical goods, and the wholesale supply of grocery products. The group has also expanded to become a leading force in Ireland's wholesale food and alcohol distribution business.
The winners receive a specially commissioned award, local and national PR opportunities, entry into the national awards and a dedicated profile page on the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards website.
The grand prize is a comprehensive package including an executive education programme at Harvard University Business School, €50,000 worth of advertising space in the Irish Independent and a one-year membership of the Institute of Directors.