Wicklow People

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Mary blazes a trail at first Business Woman awards

Kilcoole woman, Mary Byrne was the toast of Wicklow last week when she became the first Business Woman of the Year.

Mary, who owns Bomar Ltd., was the inaugural winner of the award introduced as part of the annual Wicklow County Enterprise Awards.

She received her prize at a glittering dinner on Friday night at the Marriott Druid's Glen Hotel.

Mary curretnly employs six part- time staff, and three full-time workers who supply the raw materials of preservatives and flavours to the soft drinks industry.

She also produces essential oils and salon supplies to pharmaceutical companies and health spas, and has expansion plans, to include a new showroom, in coming months.

Also raising a glass to celebrate their success were Jim and Mary Healy of Wicklow Dine Foods in Baltinglass, who were annouced as the Overall Winners of the Wicklow County Enterprise awards.

Jim and Mary manufacture a large range of high-end confectionary, biscuits, sauces and chocolates, under their brand of the Chocolate Garden of Ireland

Through their endeavours the husband and wife team have created 6 full time and 2 part time jobs. The company is already exporting to the UK and Europe, and they have ambitious plans for continued expansion.

Jim and Mary will go on to represent Wicklow at the National Enterprise Awards to be held in Croke Park this October.

The first runner up in this years award scheme was John Hempenstall, and his 'Wicklow Farmhouse Cheese' business.

No stranger to the food chain, John started out as a dairy farmer but decided to take up the challenge of adding value to his business. After much research and a steep learning curve, John developed a delicious selection of hand made high quality speciality cheeses, the secret of which lies in the quantity and quality of excellent cream from his own herd. John now employs 2 full time and 1 part time members of staff.

Second runner-up was Paul Deignan who originally qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant but started up Disc O Tech in 1997. The business to business service he provides involves scanning a company's documentation and burning them to CD-ROM for much easier storage.

Based in Wicklow Enterprise Centre, the company is now expanding into on line document management systems.

Runner-up in the Business Woman of the Year Awards, was Barbara Connelly whose business Floral Favour is based in Newtownmountkennedy.

Barbara personalises special events, banquets, weddings and dinner parties with her range of floral favours, bouquets and personalised invitation cards.

The awards were set up by Wicklow County Enterprise Board as a means of both recognising and celebrating the contribution made by entrepreneurs, while also putting the spotlight on entrepreneurship in the County.

Judging the entries were John O'Dea of Enterprise Ireland and Dominic Mullan of Microtrade Ireland. Key issues that came under the judges scrutiny were growth and employment potential, exporting capabilities, financial strength, growth in revenue and responsiveness to market trends.

Awards were presented by Mr Eddie Sheehy, County Manager and Chairman of Wicklow County Enterprise Board.

Commenting on the quality and range of businesses present, Mr Sheehy praised the entrepreneurial spirit of the people of County Wicklow, emphasizing the critical role played by small business.

'Economic activity, as we have all witnessed over the recent past, is the backbone for development and lays the foundation for a society in which all citizens have a good standard of living. Supporting growth of the small business sector and enabling those operating within it to be successful, are the two main pillars of Wicklow County Enterprise Board's remit in the County. A key objective of the Board is also the creation of an Enterprise Culture, thereby raising awareness of entrepreneurship, encouraging new business start ups and increasing the number and quality of enterprises in the County,' he said.