T Company Triumphs at 2004 National Enterprise Awards
An Information Technology Services Company, providing broadband services, web hosting and software development, based in Dundalk, Co. Louth, is the winner of the 2004 National Enterprise Awards, sponsored by the City and County Enterprise Boards. Digiweb Limited is the largest Satellite Broadband operator in the country and plans to soon become the largest wireless broadband provider on the island of Ireland. The runner up is a relatively new company Prima Finance Limited, based in Killarney promoted by Brian Leslie, who specialises in on-line money management services. Other category winners at the Awards ceremony were Solution Equipment Limited from Killaloe, Co. Clare, who received this year’s Innovation award, Tech Works Marine Limited from Dublin City, who achieved the award for Technology, SK Interfaces Limited from Fingal, the Export award and Netwatch Ireland Limited from Carlow, set-up just a year ago, received the Special Merit award.
The National Enterprise Awards competition run by the City and County Enterprise Boards supported by the National Development Plan, is in its eighth year and recognises small businesses that represent the best of entrepreneurial activity in Ireland. The competition carries a prize fund in excess of €20,000, with the overall winner receiving the title, a specially commissioned trophy and a cheque for €5,000.
This year 28 firms competed in the National Enterprise Awards at national level, each having advanced as winners from their local City or County Enterprise Board area. Entries were required to submit an official application form, business plan and audited accounts plus other supporting documentation. An independent adjudication panel interviewed all entries at six centres around the country over the past number of weeks. The adjudicators were very impressed with the overall standard particularly the quality and variety. The latter revealed the diversity of indigenous projects now emerging at county level including industrial manufacturing, services, hi-technology etc. Many of the entries have already achieved significant employment levels and are contributing to the balance of payments by means of export sales and import substitution.
Speaking at the presentation of Awards ceremony, held in the Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise on Wednesday 27 October 2004, The Minister for Trade and Commerce at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Michael Ahern TD said that “Regional Development is a key objective of the National Development Plan 2000-2006. The Boards localised structure allows them to proactively identify and support innovative entrepreneurs who are keen to exploit emerging and alternative business investment opportunities. Working in co-operation with other local agencies, the Boards play a significant part in supporting and realising this major Government policy.”
Other speakers at the Awards ceremony included, Maria Callinan, Chief Executive Officer of Laois CEB and Chairperson of the Association of CEOs of CEBs, Pat Delaney Director of the Small Firms Association and well known sports personality Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh was Master of Ceremonies for the event.
During the course of the presentations it was stated by the CEB spokesperson, Maria Callinan, that the Enterprise Boards have welcomed the proposed strategies and recommendations for future enterprise development in Ireland as outlined in the Enterprise Strategy Group Report ‘Ahead of the Curve – Ireland’s Place in the Global Economy’ July 2004. “City and County Enterprise Boards will continue to play a pivotal role in fostering entrepreneurship in Ireland, through co-operation of agencies and the successful implementation of appropriate initiatives set out in the report. The Boards acknowledge that their capacity to adapt to this challenge is crucial to competitiveness and sustainable enterprise.”
Indeed, 2004 marks the Enterprise Boards’ eleventh year supporting local enterprise and creating sustainable jobs throughout Ireland. The strategic role of the County Enterprise Boards is to stimulate economic activity at county level and to develop indigenous enterprise potential in order to build a local economy of real strength and permanence, which will provide jobs and wealth to meet the needs of their respective areas. At the end of 2003, the combined number of financially assisted jobs in companies supported by Enterprise Boards, was 33,500.