Sunday 18 November 2018

Grassroots approach of The Corkman is a perfect match for the business awards

IRD Duhallow Business Awards 2017

From a standing start in early 2013, the IRD Duhallow Business Awards have developed into a staple part of the local business calendar, and all at The Corkman are proud to be a part of that journey over the past five years.

That was the view of Group Editor of The Corkman and The Kerryman, Kevin Hughes at the business awards.

"In addition to assisting with the judging process, thanks to our Advertising and Marketing Manager Siobhan Murphy, our role is to provide exclusive coverage of the event, from application through to final selection," he said.

But he asked, just what does that mean?

"Well, next Thursday you can read all about tonight - eight pages of coverage from these awards thanks to our industrious photographer Sheila Fitzgerald and journalist Maria Herlihy who has an unrivalled knowledge of the Duhallow region," he said.

Mr Hughes said: "Over the past five years the supplements ahead of the event have typically numbered between 20 and 24 pages. In addition to eight pages post coverage, over five years that amounts to 150 pages - that's two weekly papers worth of coverage devoted solely to these awards. Each page telling an inspirational story of hope, entrepreneurship, effort, innovation and success."

"But that's not factoring in the many column inches of day to day reporting that will have featured many of your businesses here tonight - either when you started up, when you expanded or stepped onto exciting new paths. These were all newsworthy progressions and many were reported in The Corkman - if they weren't then remember, our news desk is always open and on the look out for a good story," said Mr Hughes.

Prior to the awards, he said he took the time to look back to The Corkman's first supplement in 2013 and it so happened that the very first business listed in the index was a start-up, 'Alu Cat', which impressively went on to win the inaugural event.

"Founders Daniel O'Leary and Daniel O'Keeffe certainly weren't fazed by the recession when they first set up - indeed, in hindsight, their recycling business was ideally suited for it as the raw materials were so readily available," he said.

He pointed out that innovation was rewarded again in 2014 when Gordon and Breeda O'Keeffe from K&L Deliveries in Millstreet collected the award. They started out with two vehicles in 1986 and by 2014 had 35.

The following year it was Banteer Community Childcare, which is much more than just a crèche but a community centre with over 200 children and a social aspect for parents.

And last year's winners, Ayrton Group, continues to grow in strength.

"And it's all documented on the pages of your local newspaper. It's all about grass roots. IRD Duhallow is a champion of grass-roots innovation, and at The Corkman we too pride ourselves on a grass-roots approach and in printing such. Local newspapers are an ideal marketing vehicle for business," he said.

As group editor he thanked everyone involved in organising the awards ceremony, including IRD CEO Maura Walsh and her board; the hard working judges - James McAuley of McCarthy Insurance, John Pierse, Brenda Cahill and our own Siobhan Murphy, to Brendan Malone for helping to design the supplements, Billy Mangan and MD John Feerick for his continued support.

"Thanks, too, to Mary and Jeremiah Dennehy of Brogeen Crafts for creating such wonderful pieces for our winners and good luck to everyone," he said.

'King Edward' crowned at business Oscars

The business Oscars of Duhallow saw the all-stars of enterprise in the area convene in Newmarket where no smile was greater than potato grower Ned English, who won a tasty double whammy.

Ned of Castlecor Potatoes won the Best Agri-Led Business Award and later in the night he and his son, Edward, and daughter, Niamh, picked up the overall award for 2017.

With a glint in his eye, Ned told The Corkman that it was “a very nice win” and “a very nice surprise”.

Established over 40 years ago, today it’s a very hi-tech operation - their tractors use GPS guidance and their new plant can store 7,000 tonnes of spuds. However, Ned is also keenly aware of Castlecor’s place in the local economy.

“I am very much aware that we have a lot of local people reliant on us and there are about 12 people and 45 per cent of their income would come from us as they are contractors. All of this means an awful lot to me,” he said.

The fifth IRD Duhallow Business Awards, run in association with The Corkman, saw a fantastic mix of local enterprise and innovation gather at a special marquee on the grounds of the James O’Keeffe Institute in Newmarket last Thursday.

Other winners on the night included Ashgrove Renewables, North Cork Play Therapy, Cork Baby Sensory, Bebi Eco and Mercy House Kanturk.