The finalists for this year’s National Enterprise Awards were announced yesterday in Dublin. The 31 companies from across the country will compete for the top prize at the awards on Thursday, June 1.
This is the 23rd year of the Local Enterprise Office initiative, which was won last year by Aqualicence, supported by Local Enterprise Office Wicklow. Headed up by former Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) Finalist Kate Dempsey, Aqualicence have positioned themselves at the forefront of planning and project delivery in the offshore renewable energy sector.
This year the finalists cover a range of sectors and industries from augmented reality tours and sensory friendly clothes designers to energy saving software platforms and agtech solutions farmers. The finalists also include a range of consumer products from chocolate and whiskey to artisan bakery products and a zero-waste food company.
John Magee, Chair of the Network of Local Enterprise Offices, said: “The National Enterprise Awards serve to highlight the very best businesses that the Local Enterprise Offices are working with across the country. The diversity of sectors and innovation shown again this year is outstanding and the winners will no doubt produce businesses destined for international success. These Finalists have shown outstanding resilience to get to where they are today and we are looking forward to celebrating with them at the Awards.”
The finalists compete for a prize fund of €50,000 and along with an overall National Enterprise of the Year winner there are categories for Best Start-Up, Best Export Business, an Innovation Award, a One-to-Watch Award, and a Sustainability Award. There is also an Outstanding Achievement award for a business that started with their Local Enterprise Office and has gone on to achieve international growth with the assistance of Enterprise Ireland.
Previous winners of the National Enterprise Awards include the likes of Irish Yoghurts (1998), Obelisk (2000), Simtech Aviation (2008), Digiweb (2004) and Design Pro (2013), Terra NutriTech (2018), Pestle & Mortar (2019) and Bevcraft in 2021.
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 Local Enterprise Showcase. 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 eight years ago, the Local Enterprise Offices have helped create over 25,000 jobs across the country. The LEOs work with thousands of 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.
The Connacht finalists include:
LEO Mayo – Advanced Cosmetics: Advanced Cosmetic Manufacturing Ltd born in 2018, incubated and meticulously planned during Covid times was eventually launched in 2022. This innovative tech driven company manufactures bespoke cosmetic products for the leading skincare, tanning, body care and fragrance products.
LEO Sligo – PRONAV Clinical: PRONAV Clinical provides customised supply chain services for Early Phase Clinical Trials being conducted in Europe and across the globe. Their primary clients are Pharmaceutical and Biotech innovators who are moving from laboratory based pre-clinical development of new drugs to testing in Human Clinical Trials. The company has the appropriate facilities, personnel, and regulatory authorisations in place to provide: EU Site of Importation, Packaging, Labelling, Storage, Batch Certification, and Distribution services for Investigational Medicinal Products (IMP’s) on behalf of Clinical Trial Sponsors.
LEO Galway – GH Agri: GH AGRI manufactures and retails safe, effective natural veterinary and nutritional products for farms in Ireland and the global market. These products have no meat or milk withdrawal times, reducing waste and saving customers money. They have been reducing the need for antibiotics on farms since 1989.
LEO Roscommon – Lark Bridal: Lark Bridal Ltd. distribute a portfolio of luxury fashion and bridal brands, exporting to 32 countries and working with 1,000 retailers across the EMENA territory. The company has evolved into the largest independent distributor of the leading bridal and bridesmaids brands respectively globally, Maggie Sottero Designs and The Dessy Group.
LEO Leitrim – CampusConnect: Working with leading universities in the UK and Ireland, CampusConnect is a white labelled community app and platform for universities that delivers significantly higher rates of student enrolment and retention by connecting incoming applicants with a community of best match peers for support, guidance, and friendship.