Canny Alu Cat guys have hit gold dust in old cars
THERE are many reasons to not take a chance when the economy is so topsy turvy - but two young Duhallow men did indeed decide to make that leap and open up their own business, literally ignoring the recession.
On Friday night at the Duhallow Business Awards gala Daniel O'Leary and Daniel O'Keeffe of Alu Cat were chosen above all as the Duhallow Business of the Year - having already won the Best Start Up award.
Both young men set up Alu Cat in May 2011, which deals with non-ferrous metal recycling.
Basically, the two Daniels spotted an opening in the recycling of catalytic converters from cars. These were being recycled in straightforward metal recycling with the rest of an end-of-life vehicle. However, inside each catalytic converter are tiny traces of precious metal, such as platinum, which is worth more than gold - and it's these metals the two canny entrepreneurs targetted.
They estimate there are 50-55,000 end-of-life vehicles in Ireland annually, with the same number of catalytic converters.
Alu Cat is the only company in Ireland extracting these metals, and they are now eyeing up the English market, where they estimate there are another 735,000 converters coming available each year.
Over the past two years Alu Cat has expanded, diversified into extracting more metals, and has expanded its workforce steadily, currently employing seven.
Daniel O'Keeffe told The Corkman that they were "simply thrilled" to have won not only the Best Start Up award but especially the business of the year award.
"We were just bowled over. We are really thrilled and totally delighted. It's a great incentive for us to keep going now," he said.
Mr O'Keeffe said he also believed that the awards would truly showcase that their work is deemed to be of a very high standard.
Speaking of their hopes to make serious inroads into the UK market, Mr O'Keeffe said plans are well underway on this project.
"I really want to thank IRD Duhallow for this award and I also want to thank Louise Bourke of IRD Duhallow who has been just fantastic to us over the last two years," he added.
The two directors' customers are based all over Ireland. They also recently purchased a catalytic cracking machine which has greatly aided their work.
Well, they've already cracked the Irish market and now they've cracked their first major award.