16 December 2015
By Tom Collins
35 companies have been selected as finalists, from 16 different counties, across seven categories. In total, three Cork based companies have been nominated for awards across three different categories. In the Food and Drink category sponsored by Bord Bia, Eight Degrees Brewing, the award winning Irish craft brewery renowned for its innovation and experimentation, was selected in the list of finalists.
EireChrom, Ireland’s market leader in the highly specialised area of Mass Spectrometry, was nominated for the Outstanding Small Business Award sponsored by AIB. Southern Tapes and Packaging, the company providing print and supply self-adhesive tapes to local Cork industry, was included in the list of finalists for the Sustainability Award sponsored by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
“The response to the awards programme serves as a reminder that Irish small companies are resilient, putting their best foot forward and seeking recognition for their efforts” commented AJ Noonan, SFA Chairman and Chair of the Awards Judging Panel. “As well as our seven award categories we also feature five of the best Emerging New Businesses (less than two years established) and I must say that given the quality of the businesses represented this year, entrepreneurship is alive and well in Ireland,” stated AJ Noonan.
“The SFA National Small Business Awards are now entering their twelfth year and I could not be more proud to be part of such a prestigious awards programme. The companies that have been announced as finalists this year represent all that is good about small business. The people behind these companies are dynamic, diligent and determined,” said AJ Noonan.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, who is Patron of the Awards, stated that: “As a passionate supporter of small firms I, on behalf of the Government, am delighted to support the SFA Awards. Small firms support the vast majority of jobs in all parts of our country and are leading our recovery. The Awards provide an opportunity to highlight the success of our small firms as they support our recovery by seeking out new markets and new opportunities. Supporting our small firms is essential to the Government’s strategy of securing the recovery and spreading it to every part of the country.”
The Awards prize package for ALL finalists includes an exhibition stand at the SFA National Small Business Showcase in February 2016, a strategic management masterclass weekend, a voucher for a Skillnets ManagementWorks management team/CEO course, as well as broad-ranging national and local media coverage, valued at €50,000.
Finalists also receive five complementary tickets to the Gala prize giving ceremony which will take place in March 2016 when the category winners and overall winner will be announced. The category winners will be presented with a trophy and free membership of the Small Firms Association, and the Overall Winner will also receive a bursary of €5,000 to present to a charity of their choice (funded by the 2013 Overall Winner, Megazyme International Ireland).