The 3 Wexford Local Development supported companies were up against tough competition from entrepreneurs across Ireland when the winners of the inaugural ILDN National Enterprise Awards were announced during an event at the Gibson Hotel on Thursday, 15th September 2016.
Three businesses from each of the six ILDN regions were represented in the national final, following successful regional finals held throughout the summer. A panel of judges, made up of representatives from the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government, ILDN and Micro Finance Ireland made the final decision. MFI was also a key sponsor of the Finals event.
In attendance at the regional and national award events was Minister Paul Kehoe TD who has notably provided great support towards the development and achievements of the enterprise sector, especially to the three Wexford based businesses competing in the National final to include:
Michael O’Connor, The Red Door Coffee Shop and Deli, Carrig on Bannow
Mairead McDaid – Chartered Physiotherapy & Neurological Rehabilitation, Taghmon
Moira Hart, Wexford Lavender Farm, Inch.
Congratulations to all three Wexford based finalists who should be extremely proud of themselves for their achievements in their businesses to date and for reaching the national final overall. The Inaugural Enterprise Awards pay tribute and acknowledge the remarkable achievements of entrepreneurs, who were previously unemployed and set up new businesses, creating employment for themselves and others. All finalists are great ambassadors of what can be achieved through the BtWEA and STEA schemes with the support from WLD who are very proud to be part of their successful journey.
The overall winner of the event was Derek Walker, Simply Natural Health, a wheatgrass production company based in Donegal. Registered blind, Derek (28) established his wheatgrass business after discovering its health benefits post- surgery. Derek provided the following advise to fellow entrepreneurs “I would urge anyone who has an idea or business concept who is finding it difficult to take the next step to make contact with their local development company and they’ll soon put you on the right path. Had it not been for them I would not be in the place I am in today.”
The second place went to Katarzyna Gwis – K & T Bakery & K& T Restaurant, Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry followed by Oliver Hynes – Hub Controls Ltd, Dublin in third place.
The BtWEA and STEA schemes are funded through the Department of Social Protection and also advisory support via the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP), which is funded by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government. The SICAP funded Local Development Company Enterprise officers are a key in supporting clients into creating their own businesses.
Wexford Lavender Farm, The Red Door Café & Deli and Mairead McDaid Chartered Physiotherapy & Neurological Rehabilitation gained vast promotional exposure throughout the competition through TV, radio, press and social media. Irish TV featured each of the businesses on the popular programme ‘Wexford Matters’, interviews were held on South East Radio and with Bobby Kerr on Newstalk and each finalist received a video which showcased their business for social media purposes. In addition each business had continuous local and national press coverage which is invaluable to all growing entrepreneurs.
Wexford Local Development is delighted to be part of such a worthwhile awards initiative supporting the enterprise sector across the country and would like to thank everyone who entered the competition and wish them every success.
This is the inaugural ILDN National Enterprise Award event and due to the phenomenal response it will be the first of many to come.
A full list and video profiles of the 18 shortlisted businesses is available to view online www.wld.ie