On 25 May, 32 nominees will compete at the National Enterprise Awards.
The National Enterprise Awards is an event to recognise the contribution of small businesses to the Irish economy, organised by the Local Enterprise Offices.
“We’re the first-stop-shop for anyone thinking of starting a business, or expanding,” says Sheelagh Daly, Chair of the Network of Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities. “Our main target is micro-enterprises, employing 10 or fewer people, and we provide start-up supports as well as support for people running small businesses to become more profitable and more competitive.
“Micro-enterprises are incredibly important to the Irish economy, providing employment for one out of every three people employed.”
Speaking about the rationale for running this competition, Oisín Geoghegan, Chair of the National Enterprise Awards’ Organising Committee, commented: “The aim of the awards is to recognise and celebrate the valuable contribution that small businesses continue to make at both local and national level. By shining a light on excellence and innovation within our start-ups and growing small business sector, we are providing inspiration to many others that have potential to become successful in enterprise.”
He added: “The overall winner receives a cash investment of €10,000, while eight regional winners receive €2,000 each. Three category award winners receive €5,000 each. But most importantly, each of the winners benefits from the recognition that they achieve through this prestigious national competition.”
Mark Clendennen, whose business, Applied Concepts in Offaly – specialising in the design and manufacture of abrasive blasting machines – won the overall prize last year, feels it has really opened doors: “We have gained a lot of credibility with potential overseas distributors and new customers. Overseas companies look very favourably on such a prestigious award.
“The Local Enterprise Office has been instrumental from the very start,” says Clendennen, “both from a financial perspective and as a sounding board.”
This year’s National Enterprise Awards will be held at the Mansion House, Dublin, where An Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny TD will present the awards alongside the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, and the Minister of State for Employment and Small Business, Mr Pat Breen TD.
Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “These innovative businesses are led by people who are serious about their ambition, who are taking real risks and making real sacrifices to achieve success, and they are making a huge contribution to their local communities and to the economy at large.”
Business supports from your Local Enterprise Office
There are 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in local authorities around the country, where you’ll find a hub of expert advice, information and practical supports – ready when you are.
From training and mentoring programmes to advice on funding options and business planning, dedicated teams are there to help drive and support your business every step of the way.
Finalists in the 2017 National Enterprise Awards:
Dublin (City): Pink Kong Studios, original story-driven animated content.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown: Moontour, Irish-language adventure camp.
Dublin (Fingal): Hope Beer, award-winning craft beers.
South Dublin: Acutrace, energy-management software and hardware.
South West Region
Clare: Core Optimisation Ltd, digital growth specialists.
Kerry: Irish Host Family, links language students with families.
Limerick: Student Programmes Ireland Ltd, tailormade education for European students.
Tipperary: MediSkin, laser, skincare and wellbeing solutions.
Mid East Region
Kildare: Broghies Ireland, healthy, tasty and versatile snacks.
Laois: Infrastruct AMS Limited, structural testing and investigation services.
Offaly: Dezynamite, graphic design, websites and printing.
Westmeath: Lift Hire Ireland, van, truck and trailer-mounted lifts.
Cork (City): Rebel Chilli, award-winning fresh chilli sauces.
Cork (North & West): Enibas Jewellery, designs and manufactures jewellery collections.
South Cork: Polar IceTech, dry ice blasting specialists.
Waterford: Pip and Pear Chilled Baby Food, Irish-made chilled baby food.
South East Region
Carlow: McNally Denture Clinic, full denture services and clinic.
Kilkenny: Greensbridge Engineering Ltd, high-quality precision engineering.
Wexford: Scup Gelato, handcrafted luxury gelatos and sorbets.
Wicklow: Goldfish.ie, cloud-based telecoms provider.
North West Region
Donegal: Silver Birch Gallery, original paintings, mixed-media and prints.
Leitrim: Jinny’s Bakery, handmade bread, cakes and puddings.
Longford: Purpledecks Ltd., enterprise app developer and consultancy.
Sligo: Studyclix, E-learning tool for second-level students.
North East Region
Cavan: Moran’s Megajam Ltd, artisan jams, chutneys and pestos.
Louth: Aphix Software Ltd, software solutions for wholesalers.
Meath: Hexafly, develops sustainable natural commodities.
Monaghan: RAMfit Ltd, training products for fitness.
Galway (City): 9th Impact, action games for mobile phones.
Galway (County): IMS Marketing, dedicated technical marketing company.
Mayo: Monaghan Bros Bar Furniture Manufacturers Ltd, furniture for the hospitality industry.
Roscommon: PJ Fallon & Son, tools, garage and lifting equipment.
For more information about Local Enterprise Offices and to find your local office, click here. Make sure to use the hashtag #NEAwards to celebrate all the great finalists from your region.