Applications now open for National Enterprise Awards 2018

Applications now open for National Enterprise Awards 2018

The National Enterprise Awards recognise and celebrate the contribution made by small firms to the Irish economy. Local Enterprise Office Galway is currently inviting entries from our clients.

The winner will go forward to the National Final in the Mansion House on the 24th May 2018.  The Galway competition carries a prize fund of over €4,000 plus awards and cash prizes to be presented locally as follows:


Overall Winner - Galway:                  €2,500

Best New Business - Galway             €1,500


The Competition was introduced in 1997 by the network of County & City Enterprise Boards and this year celebrates 20 years of winners.

Finalists will be judged on areas such as their business plan, marketing strategy, finance, the use of technology and innovation in business, in addition to the entrepreneurial skills of the business owner. The winners will receive valuable PR in the local media and the overall winner will be profiled in the national event brochure and regional / national media in the weeks prior to the competition. 

Application forms should be requested from the Local Enterprise Office at and returned along with a business plan and financial statements by Wednesday 28th February 2018. 

Competition Guidelines

STAGE 1:   The local competition                      

  1. The applicants must be current clients of the LEO’s or transferred to

Enterprise Ireland within the last 12 months (i.e. after 31st December, 2016).

  1. All businesses must have qualified for:
  • Measure 1 Financial Support
  • LEO Innovation Investment Fund (LIIF) Support
  • IBYE Support
  • TAME Support
  • Trading Online Voucher 

Companies that have received support by way of feasibility studies or R&D assistance from other agencies are not excluded.

  1. All entries must employ ten or less employees employed on a full time equivalent basis. 
  1. Previous County winners are eligible to enter.
  1. Completed application forms together with a Business Plan, and the most recent financial statements must be submitted for adjudication.  Applications without business plan and financial statements will be disqualified.
  1. Adjudication and prize fund at County level will be the responsibility of the local LEO. Winner overall for LEO Galway receives €2,500 and progresses to the National Final in Mansion House in May 2018. An award will also be given to the best new start-up €1,500.
  1. Standard judging guidelines and scoring sheet are attached for information.
  1. Submissions may be made in soft or hard copy for Local adjudication prior to 28th February 2018.


STAGE 2: The National Final


  1. Judging to take place at the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone (TBC), the weeks beginning 9th April and 16th April 2018Each finalist will be afforded the opportunity to present an overview of their business by way of PowerPoint to the judging panel and this will be followed by an interview.  A laptop will be available on the day however finalists are welcome to use their own laptops if they so choose.


  1. Winners will be announced on the evening of the final on Thursday, 24th May 2018 at

The Round Room, Mansion House, Dublin City. There will be no short-listing this year as per last year’s format.


  1. Judges decision is final.


  1.  Prize Fund:


From all the finalists, the panel of adjudicators will choose:


  1. The overall Winner (to receive €10,000)
  2. The Best Export Business (to receive €5,000)
  3. The Best Start Up Business (5 years or less) (to receive €5,000)
  4. Innovation Award (to receive €5,000)
  5. 8 Regional Winners (to receive €2,000 each)


All entries will be judged against the prize categories listed above and regional winners will be acknowledged in addition to the category prizes.  Only those companies in existence for less than 5 years will be considered for the Best Start Up Category.


Important Dates:

28th February, 2018          -    Local competitions to be complete

14th March, 2018               -    Final date for receipt of applications

9th & 16th April 2018         -    National adjudication takes place during these weeks

24th May, 2018                  -    National Enterprise Awards Event