The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’ Connor T.D., has announced the Irish small businesses that have reached the National Enterprise Awards Final, which is organised by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs).
Thousands of small businesses from across the country were supported by the LEOs last year and 32 of those businesses have now reached the National Final. Businesses in technology, manufacturing, food, on-line and energy dominate this year’s list.
The competition has a prize fund of €40,000 and was set up nearly two decades ago to celebrate the success of Ireland’s small businesses and micro-enterprises. There are representatives from every county in the final, which will take place at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Twelve awards will be presented including eight new regional trophies and the overall winner will receive €10,000 to invest in their business.
The announcement of finalists was made at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in Dublin by Minister Mitchell O’ Connor, accompanied by Kieran Comerford of the LEOs, Mark Christal of Enterprise Ireland, Paul Reid, Chair of the Local Government, Economic, Enterprise and Tourism Committee and last year’s Overall Winner, Linda Nolan of MyBio in Kilkenny.
Announcing the finalists, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “Getting to the final of the National Enterprise Awards is a great achievement. As part of my role as Minister I want to engage with small business, they are the backbone of Ireland and I want to ensure that I can put in place the right conditions for small businesses to thrive. Two thirds of all new jobs are created by start-ups and I want to encourage more people to start new businesses. The Local Enterprise Offices are at the core of this. They work towards embedding an enterprise culture at local level. These awards showcase the innovation, creativity and the development potential across the micro and small business sectors. By highlighting all these success stories, the National Enterprise Awards give well deserved recognition to Ireland’s small business champions. I wish all Finalists the very best of luck in the final.”
Kieran Comerford of the Local Enterprise Offices paid tribute to the small businesses involved in this year’s final, saying: “Small businesses, sole traders and start-ups are becoming the heroes of the economic recovery and we want to celebrate their successes and talents. The Local Enterprise Offices, through the Local Authorities Network, support thousands of small businesses in the community every year and the National Enterprise Awards are a way of recognising their remarkable achievements.”
Last year’s national winner was MyBio in Kilkenny, which supplies specialist products and technologies to the life sciences sector. In previous years, winners have included Irish Yoghurts, Innovate, Grouse Recording Studios, Simtech Aviation and Design Pro.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Thursday, 9 June 2016. Updates will be available through www.localenterprise.ie and by following #NEAwards16 on social media.