Fingal Craft Business scoops prestigious new award at Showcase
Minister Mitchell O’ Connor announces winner of inaugural Local Enterprise Showcase Awards for emerging Irish design businesses
A talented Fingal designer was announced as one of the three winners of the inaugural Local Enterprise Showcase Awards at the R.D.S. in Dublin this week. The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) initiative is aimed at supporting the Irish Craft and Design sector.
Ale Walsh from Portmarnock was presented with her Highly commended award by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. The awards highlight excellence and innovation amongst the talented LEO supported craft makers and designers taking part in Showcase, Ireland’s International Creative Expo.
The other two winners presented by Minister Mitchell O’ Connor were “Pieces of Great”, supported by Tipperary Local Enterprise Office, while Mullingar-based business “My Name is Ted” also scooped an award for County Westmeath.
Speaking after the event Minister Mitchell O’Connor, said: “I have been impressed by the wealth of talent amongst the 110 emerging craft and design companies being supported by the Local Enterprise Offices at Showcase. Clearly the future is bright for Ireland’s craft and design sector. Our design and craft sector is contributing to jobs, exports, and tourism and Showcase plays a crucial role in helping put Irish companies on the international design map.”
The Minister added: “It is vital that these emerging businesses are nurtured. The LEOs are a huge support for start-ups and small businesses in this blossoming sector. The Local Enterprise Showcase is a wonderful platform, and a great opportunity for craft makers to meet buyers from all over the world. I am delighted that these awards have been initiated to recognise the incredible talent shown from these companies.”
The winners of the Local Enterprise Showcase Awards are:
Ale Walsh from Ale Walsh in Portmarnock, County Dublin, supported by LEO Fingal
Brendan and Kaisa McEvoy from My Name is Ted in Mullingar, County Westmeath, supported by LEO Westmeath
Paul and Edel Grace, from Pieces of Great in Kilcommon, Co. Tipperary supported by LEO Tipperary
Showcase is organised by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, and promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland. Continuing until Wednesday, January 25th, it is an important international sales platform for 450 Irish designers, manufacturers, and craftspeople, attracting more than 5,000 buyers from all over the world.
A record 110 designers and craft-makers are exhibiting at “Local Enterprise Showcase” which replaces the Enterprise Zone as the destination during Showcase for LEO-supported companies. They represent a range of creative sectors including ceramics, knitwear, jewellery, skincare and giftware.
The first prize is a week’s product display in the Kilkenny Shop on Nassau Street, Dublin and gives the winner an opportunity to pitch their product to Kilkenny Shop buyers.
Also in attendance was Oisin Geoghegan, Head of Enterprise in Fingal; Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland; Stephen Hughes of Enterprise Ireland, and Anna Marie Delaney, Chair of the Local Government Economic, Enterprise and Tourism Committee.
The four-member judging panel for the Local Enterprise Showcase Awards were: Fiona Deegan, Head of Enterprise, LEO Kilkenny (Chair); Laura Pasquetti, Gift and Homeware Buyer with the Kilkenny Group, Niamh O' Rourke, Independent Stylist and Creative Consultant and Mary Blanchfield, Head of Operations with the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.
Head of Enterprise in Fingal, Oisin Geoghegan said that many of the design and craft companies in the Local Enterprise Showcase area were first-time exhibitors and new start-ups. He said: “The Local Enterprise Showcase is the new destination for buyers to discover emerging design and craft talent at Showcase 2017. More than half of the LEO-supported craft and design companies are making their Showcase debut, meeting international buyers for the first time. Over the next four days, these companies will secure substantial international orders that will help them grow their export markets and in turn their job creation prospects.”
Mr Geoghegan stressed that support for the design and craft companies extends way beyond Showcase. “This is part of year-round supports and mentoring offered from all Local Enterprise Offices nationwide, including financial, business advice clinics and training programmes.”
Further information is available through www.showcaseireland.com and www.localenterprise.ie.