Minister announces details for Local Enterprise Showcase Awards

Minister announces details for Local Enterprise Showcase Awards

New awards from Local Enterprise Offices help “showcase” local craft and design talent

Local Enterprise Offices are introducing a new award competition to recognise excellence and innovation amongst craft makers and designers taking part in Showcase – Ireland’s International Creative Expo, which is being held in Dublin’s RDS next month.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Mary Mitchell O’ Connor T.D., announced details for the inaugural “Local Enterprise Showcase Awards” and that the winners will be revealed at Showcase, which attracts more than 5,000 buyers from around the world every year. The four day event that runs from January 22nd to 25th is organised by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland.

The number of Local Enterprise Office supported companies at Showcase has jumped from 97 in 2016 to 112 in 2017. Local companies supported by Local Enterprise Office Fingal include Cathy Kilgannon of Kitty K Rhymes from Swords, Louise McGinty of Impack Design from Castleknock, Karen Wilson of Karen Wilson Art from Skerries, Lorna Gaffney White of Lorna Gaffney White Design from Kinsealy, Pamela Hughes of Love the Mug from Swords, Stewart Duffy of Stewart Duffy Photography from Donabate, Joanna Harpur of Jo Harpur Jewellery from Sutton, Lorna Venton of Berry Be Beauty from Balbriggan, Michelle Owens of Michelle Owens Art from Skerries and Ale Walsh of Ale Walsh Designs from Portmarnock.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor welcomed the introduction of the awards to mark emerging craft and design talent. The awards carry a first prize of a week’s product display in the Kilkenny Shop on Nassau Street, Dublin, and an opportunity to pitch their product to Kilkenny Shop buyers.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor, said: “Ireland has a wealth of design talent and I am very encouraged that the number of emerging craft and design companies being supported by the Local Enterprise Offices at Showcase has increased this year. The LEOs have been a huge support for start-ups and small businesses in the blossoming design and craft sector. Supporting this creative sector will enable further job creation right across the country and I am delighted that these awards will recognise our incredible talent.”

“There is a strong appetite internationally for the work of Irish designers and makers, and the Local Enterprise Showcase is a great opportunity for craft makers to grow and develop. 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 Head of Enterprise in Fingal, Oisin Geoghegan said: “The new Local Enterprise Showcase is an ideal marketplace where buyers from around the world can meet local craftspeople and designers in person, helping small businesses get their big break. Our support for companies to be at Showcase is part of year-round supports offered from LEOs in local authorities to designers and craftspeople. These supports also include financial assistance, mentoring, business advice clinics and training programmes.”

Paul Reid, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, attended the opening of Showcase in the RDS and was very impressed with the quality of the products on display by the Fingal Craft exhibitors: “In Fingal we have a strong Craft sector which adds huge value to our community, not only in monetary terms but also by keeping alive the cultural and creative heritage of Fingal. Our Local Enterprise Office is particularly focused on enabling artisan craft-workers to grow their business through international markets. Initiatives such as Showcase and the Secaucus trade show provide a valuable support to help the sector to achieve this goal.”

Minister Mitchell O’Connor met five LEO-supported businesses taking part in Local Enterprise Showcase at the announcement of the awards at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in Dublin. In attendance was Kieran Comerford on behalf of the LEOs, the Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Karen Hennessy and Gerry Murphy of Showcase Ireland Events Ltd.

The exhibitors present were: fragrance designer Joanne Browne, of Jo Browne Natural Solid Perfume from Carlow, photographer Stewart Duffy, of Stewart Duffy Photography in Fingal, Co. Dublin, soap-maker Lucinda Layton, of Rose & Alice Handcrafted Soaps and Gifts from Co. Laois, Eoin Shanley, of Copper Fish Studio in Wicklow and Magdalena Dubaj, of Rainbow Stained Glass in Mayo.

The Local Enterprise Showcase is located along the Balcony Area of the RDS Main Hall at Showcase, which is open to trade buyers from Sunday, January 22nd to Wednesday, January 25th 2017.

Further information on enterprise supports available to the design and craft sector is available through