The finalists for the National Enterprise Awards have been announced today. An initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), the National Enterprise Awards Final will take place virtually on the 11th February.
The finalists, selected by the Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities, represent a diverse range of businesses that are supported by the LEOs across the country. Now in their 21st year the awards celebrate small businesses and includes awards that recognise excellence in exporting, sustainability and innovation along with 8 regional awards and an overall National Enterprise Awards winner.
The Finalists, who will compete for a €40,000 prize fund, include businesses in Virtual Reality training (VRAI), Artisan pizza production (Pizza DaPiero), international TV and film design and production technology (Odyssey Studios), mobile canning (Bevcraft), e-learning and online management (Dulann), inflammation fighting ferments (Spoonful Botanical), online restaurant ordering and fulfilment (Armour Interactive), energy efficient building (Lidan Designs) and an international online college (5Global).
This year also sees the addition of two new award categories that reflect the challenging business conditions that companies have faced in 2020. The Pivot Award will be presented to a company who has successfully pivoted their business in the face of challenging conditions in the last 12 months. The Brexit Ready Award will be presented to a company who have excelled in their preparation for Brexit particularly where it would have created specific challenges for them as a business.
Minister for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, said; “Through the National Enterprise Awards we get recognise some businesses who have been excelling and for the past 20 years they have been the benchmark for excellence in micro-enterprise across the country. Looking through the list of not only winners, but finalists, through the years you see some outstanding Irish, and now international, companies. No doubt this year’s finalists will be no different with some exceptional companies shortlisted. The very best of luck to all finalists and no doubt they will continue to grow beyond this and hopefully become part of Ireland’s growing international business community.
Breda Fox, Chair of the National Enterprise Awards Committee with the Local Enterprise Offices, said; “It has been a challenging year for small businesses so this is a chance to highlight positive stories and businesses who have excelled in the face of unprecedented challenges. These businesses have been through a rigorous process of judging, auditing every aspect of their business and this in itself can be a huge benefit to them as they plan for the future. Whether they win or not these finalists are well positioned to follow in the footsteps of the great companies that have gone before them such as Pestle & Mortar, SimTech Aviation and Terra Nutritech and as a network the Local Enterprise Offices look forward to continuing to support them to help them grow.
Previous winners of the National Enterprise Awards include Irish Yoghurts (1998), Obelisk (2000), Simtech Aviation (2008), Digiweb (2004) and Design Pro (2013), Terra NutriTech (2018) and the last winners in 2019, Pestle & Mortar backed by Local Enterprise Office Kildare. Founded by Sonia Deasy and her husband Padraig, Pestle & Mortar has become one of Ireland’s best known skincare companies. Having sold out on QVC in the US in 7 minutes, Pestle & Mortar products now sit on the shelves in some of the world’s most high-end retail outlets.
Sonia Deasy, co-founder of Pestle & Mortar, on the benefits of winning the award in 2019; “Every bit of exposure we got led to an increase in business, whether direct from consumers or from stockists. It’s very good if you are going on the investment trail. If you are calling somewhere, people are more likely to know you and you are more likely to be seen.” It can even facilitate entry to overseas markets. “We are in 32 countries now and, when it comes to meetings with distributors, we find that in countries such as China, they love awards, so it’s a huge help.”
The National Enterprise Awards are one of a number of initiatives that the Local Enterprise Offices run, to foster entrepreneurship across the country. Others include Local Enterprise Week, the Student Enterprise Programme, National Women’s Enterprise Day and Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE). The Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities are funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland.
Established in 2014, the Local Enterprise Offices are the essential resource for any entrepreneur looking to start a business or any small business that is looking for support or advice to help them grow. Since their inception six years ago, the Local Enterprise Offices have helped create over 18,000 jobs across the country. The LEOs work with over 7,000 client companies across Ireland in a diverse range of sectors offering mentoring, training, expert advice and financial supports to small businesses. For more information see www.LocalEnterprise.ie