It’s often said that entrepreneurship is a lonely pursuit. Well in Louth, it’s not! The winners of the Louth County Enterprise Awards were announced on Friday afternoon and 3 couples scooped each of the 3 awards. To top it all, the awards were created by husband and wife artists Declan Kelly and Els Boghart of EDDE Art.
The awards ceremony was hosted by the Local Enterprise Office Louth as the finale to their highly successful Local Enterprise Week 2020. Guests of honour were Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council, Cllr Liam Reilly and Chief Executive Joan Martin.
In a highly energetic and entertaining ceremony, MC Gerry Kelly interviewed each of the winning companies.
First up were Nicola and Tom Grills of Sixling Gin who took the title in the Start-Up category. This busy couple juggle rearing a young family with ambitious plans to grow the Grills Spirits empire. Since launching Sixling Cloudberry gin in August 2018, their product has scooped several accolades ‘Best Irish Contemporary Gin 2020’ at The World Gin Awards and ‘Best Irish Distilled Gin’ at 2019 The Irish Gin Awards.
The focus for Grills Spirits in 2020 is to continue to expand domestically and begin to export internationally. They will showcase their products to potential importers at major trade events in Dusseldorf, Singapore and Tokyo, in a bid to begin exporting. They are also in the final stages of developing an exciting new second product range, due for release later this year.
The Innovation Award was presented to Rory and Geraldine Clarke of Dureka Dental Handpieces. Dureka, an emerging developer of precision dental handpieces, was formed arising from a gap in the market spotted by the company founder Rory Clarke. The journey from concept to market has been a long and challenging one for Rory, Geraldine and the team at Dureka.
Dental equipment is a Class 2A medical device and requires complex regulatory approval. High speed handpieces move at 400,000 revolutions per minute so impeccable design and precision are critical. Between 2012 and 2018, the Dureka Dental team worked solidly in the design of their dental handpieces and development of the product. There are only 20 companies in the world that are regulated, certified manufacturers of dental drills. In 2019, Dureka Dental achieved that certification and launched their product line at the International Dental Show in Cologne, Germany. After 7 years of dedicated innovation and determination, this Dundalk company are poised to take a slice of the global dental equipment market worth an estimated $7.5 billion per annum.
The title of Best Established Business was awarded to Evelyn Garland and Luke Judge of Simply Fit Food. Evelyn accepted the award as Luke had been detained in the office, managing an audit.
Simply Fit Food is one of Ireland’s fastest scaling health food brands. The company focuses on providing healthy, grab & go meal solutions to time-poor health conscious people. The company was started in 2016 after Luke was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. They could not find healthy ready meals to support them living well in their busy lifestyle. Their mission is to provide their customers with healthy, convenient meals on-the-go. Simply Fit Food is a health food brand designed to support their customers through healthier choices, creating happier lives.
Whilst they started as a cooking and delivery service, the company scaled significantly since then. Their Simply Fit Food ranges are now available online & in most major retailers in Ireland & Northern Ireland. Evelyn and Luke also plan to expand into the UK market later this year.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Simply Fit Food were also announced as the overall winner of the 2020 Louth Enterprise Awards. Evelyn and Luke of Simply Fit Food will now go forward to represent Louth in the National Enterprise Awards finals in The Mansion House Dublin on 28th May.
Someone who knows all about the National Enterprise Awards is the 2019 winner Sonia Deasy who delivered the keynote address at Friday’s awards. She told the incredible story of how she and her husband Padraic built their multi-award winning, skincare business Pestle and Mortar. Based in Kildare, they export their product all over the world and appear frequently on TV in the USA. Her key message to the assembled entrepreneurs and business owners was to think big from the start. Even if your company is starting out small, think of it as a big organisation and plan your strategies and structures so that you can grow into it.
Concluding the event, Head of Enterprise Thomas McEvoy reminded the audience that “Enterprise is so crucial to the health of the economy here in Louth. Our role in the Local Enterprise Office is to advice and guide SMEs across the county to help them grow and create jobs. Although Local Enterprise Week may be over, we are always here to help and support local business and we encourage you to visit www.LocalEnterprise.ie/Louth to discover how we can help your business.”