Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor; Mark Clendennen, founder, Applied Concepts; Orla Martin, head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Offaly
Blast machine manufacturer from Offaly wins this year’s National Enterprise Award with category awards going to small businesses in Kildare, Limerick and Fingal.
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor presented the top prize in the National Enterprise Awards to Applied Concepts, an Offaly-based manufacturer and exporter of blast machines used by builders and restoration companies.
Set-up by Mark Clendennen and supported by Local Enterprise Office Offaly, the Kinnitty-based company began trading in 2010 and employs 10 people. Its machines are used in building and restoration projects in countries such as Finland, Estonia, Venezuela and Ethiopia.
With a total prize fund of €40,000 on offer through the Local Enterprise Offices, 13 awards were presented in total and the other major category winners at last nights award ceremony were: CarveOn from Kildare (Best Exporter), Global Sauces from Limerick (Best Start-Up) and Invizbox from Fingal in Dublin (Innovation Award).
In Kildare, CarveOn was set up by two brothers, Alan and Gary McCormack, and its customised leather accessories are exported to 50 countries. Global Sauces in Limerick is headed up by Liam Hayes and Vincent Sheahan and the company manufactures 34 different varieties of sauces for the food industry. In Fingal, Invizbox was founded by Paul Canavan, Chris Monks and Elizabeth Canavan and their hardware devices keep customers in more than 60 countries more secure online.
Speaking at the awards, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “I am delighted to be here today to witness first-hand the innovative entrepreneurs that Ireland has. Through the National Enterprise Awards, the success stories of Ireland’s small businesses are showcased nationally and internationally by the Local Enterprise Offices. Small businesses, like finalists here tonight at the National Enterprise Awards, are the backbone of the Irish economy and I want to ensure that I can put in place the right conditions for more small businesses to grow. Two thirds of all new jobs are created by start-ups and I want to encourage more people to start new businesses, with the help of their Local Enterprise Office. I want to congratulate all of this year’s winners and I wish them the very best for the future, as they ‘fly the flag’ for Ireland’s small businesses.”
Congratulating this year’s winners, Kieran Comerford of the Local Enterprise Offices said: “Applied Concepts in Offaly has achieved impressive international growth since it started trading and has brought all manufacturing in-house, rather than outsourcing it abroad. For thousands of small companies like Applied Concepts, the Local Enterprise Offices through the Local Authorities Network have become a first stop shop for business and the National Enterprise Awards help to celebrate these companies’ achievements. As a business moves through the start-up phase and into the growth phase, their Local Enterprise Office is standing by, ready to provide whatever supports are needed to help that business grow and expand.”
Eight new regional awards were introduced this year and these were presented to: Dublin Region: Brian and Rachel Nolan, Nobó; Kildare/Laois/Offaly/Westmeath Region: Tom Davitt and Dr. Orla Dardis of Scantech Geoscience; Wicklow/Wexford/Carlow/Kilkenny Region: Diarmuid Byrne and Sam Watson of EquiRatings; Louth/Cavan/Monaghan/Meath Region: Clinton Pratt of Ualto; Donegal/Sligo/Leitrim/Longford Region: Detta and Aoife McNiffe, McNiffe’s Boxty; Galway/Mayo/Sligo Region: Donal Byrne, Big Red Barn; Clare/Limerick/Kerry/Tipperary Region: Fionan Murphy, Murphy Marine Services; Cork/Waterford Region: Clare Hughes, CF Pharma Ireland.
Meanwhile, the first-ever ‘Peer Award’ was presented to Darren Hayes from Dare Technology in Cork City and was judged by all 32 finalists.