Aquaculture & Offshore Wind Company win the National Enterprise Awards

Minister Damien English announced the winners from across the country

2nd June 2022

A company that has positioned themselves at the forefront of offshore renewable energy in Ireland has been named the overall winner at this year’s National Enterprise Awards. Aqualicense from Wicklow took the top prize at Local Enterprise Office run awards tonight, which took place at the Mansion House in Dublin in what was their 23rd year.

The announcement was made by Damien English T.D., Minister for Business, Employment and Retail at the event with company founder, and Chief Executive, Kate Dempsey accepting the award.


Aqualicense were founded in 2019 with the help of Local Enterprise Office Wicklow, and engage in consultation, planning, legal compliance and project delivery on behalf of companies in the aquaculture and offshore renewable energy industries.

The company expanded their operations into the highly regulated offshore renewable energy sector in 2021 which has helped the company grow considerably and they are now looking to expand their expertise into new markets internationally.

Kate Dempsey, a serial entrepreneur, was a national finalist in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur in 2019 with her business the Irish Mussel Seed Company, which she continues to run from her Wicklow base.

Announcing the award winners at the Mansion House, Minister English said; “The National Enterprise Awards are the highlight of the small business and enterprise calendar. Year on year the diversity of businesses and the standard of companies that are coming through the process is getting stronger. We should not be surprised given the innovation and endurance that businesses have shown in the past couple of years. We have some outstanding winners but the finalists on the whole have been excellent, and this is very much the start of their journey.

“We will ensure they continue to get the support they need to grow their businesses as small businesses in Ireland are at the core of every town, village and community and are vital to our economy. This will help to build a balanced regional recovery that is focused on future enterprise development and sustainable job creation for the longer term.”

Padraic McElwee, Chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices, said; “This has been an extremely challenging year for small businesses and tonight we get to see all that is good about entrepreneurship in Ireland. We have some excellent winners and the calibre of finalists this year is as high as ever. These companies have been through rigorous vetting by judges and hopefully, it will have helped them make adjustments and enhance their businesses. Congratulations to all the winning companies. The future is bright for all our finalists who are the perfect reflection of the quality and variety of Irish business we are creating.”

Several other companies won across a range of categories at the Awards, which were established by the Local Enterprise Offices to celebrate the impact and quality of small businesses across the country.

The Best Start-Up category was won by Acoustic Interiors supported by Local Enterprise Office Offaly. The business improves the health, wellbeing and productivity of people through intelligent acoustic design and fit-out of homes, offices and buildings.

The Green/Sustainability Award went to Cirtex, supported by Local Enterprise Office Longford. The company have created a closed-loop manufacturing business that upcycles the materials from duvets and mattresses, most of which are imported, to be reused in new products.

The Best Export category was won by Professional Hair Labs supported by Local Enterprise Office Wexford. The family run business is a manufacturer and distributor of cosmetic products including GHOSTBOND, the world’s leading product for hair adhesive solutions.

The Innovation Award went to Cubbie who are supported by Local Enterprise Office Mayo. The installation, which is in over 200 schools across Ireland, enables students with neurodiversity or sensory challenges to regulate their senses with a bespoke programme to ensure their learning and academic experience is not adversely affected.

Finally, the One to Watch Award was taken by Streat School supported by Local Enterprise Office Monaghan. The business provides an end-to-end solution for those looking to enter the street food business, providing equipment, workshops and branding materials.

This year’s winners share a €50,000 investment fund and eight regional winners were also announced on the night. Those winners are –

  • Farmony in the Dublin Region (backed by LEO Fingal)
  • Torpey in the South West Region (backed by LEO Clare)
  • Salutem Insights in the Mid East Region (backed by LEO Laois)
  • SmartRoutes in the South Region (backed by LEO Cork City)
  • FeedAlpha in the South East Region (backed by LEO Carlow)
  • Tantek 4D in the North West Region (backed by LEO Sligo)
  • Aine’s Chocolate in the North East Region (backed by LEO Cavan)
  • Studio Meala in the West Region (backed by LEO Roscommon)

There was also an Outstanding Achievement Award presented on the night to an individual or company who has excelled in recent years. This award went to ABC Nutritionals from Clare. The Shannon based business, established in 2007 are a private label manufacturer of sports, weight management and lifestyle nutrition products. They have double their workforce and turnover since 2018 with 68 now employed and hope to reach 100 by 2025 with a new facility in development.

Previous winners of the National Enterprise Awards include Irish Yoghurts (1998), Obelisk (2000), Simtech Aviation (2008), Digiweb (2004) and Design Pro (2013), Terra NutriTech (2018) and Pestle & Mortar (2019). The last winners in 2021 were Bevcraft, who were supported by Local Enterprise Office Westmeath. Europe’s only mobile canning company have gone from strength to strength since winning the award, opening new hubs across the continent.

The National Enterprise Awards are one of a number of initiatives that the Local Enterprise Offices run, to foster entrepreneurship across the country. Others include Local Enterprise Week, the Student Enterprise Programme, National Women’s Enterprise Day and Local Enterprise Showcase. The Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities are funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland.

Established in 2014, the Local Enterprise Offices are the essential resource for any entrepreneur looking to start a business or any small business that is looking for support or advice to help them grow. Since their inception eight years ago, the Local Enterprise Offices have helped create over 20,000 jobs across the country. The LEOs work with thousands of client companies across Ireland in a diverse range of sectors offering mentoring, training, expert advice and financial supports to small businesses. For more information see


Overall Winners – AqualicenseLocal Enterprise Office Wicklow

Aqualicense are a marine planning company with a difference. Focusing on the Aquaculture and Offshore Renewable Energy industries, Aqualicense ensure that projects adopt the approach of inclusive multiple use of space, bioremediation, production of seafood, and equitable marine development so that their client’s projects stand out as being viable, innovative and best practice.

Green/Sustainability Award – Cirtex – Local Enterprise Office Longford

Based in Longford, Cirtex Ltd. Manufactures thermal and acoustic insulation, floor underlay, arena fibre and insulator pads for mattresses and furniture cushioning. The innovative and sustainable product range is made from upcycling textiles, which reduces landfill and harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The product range is nearing market readiness and has a fantastic order book.

Best Export Award – Professional Hair Labs – Local Enterprise Office Wexford

Professional Hair Labs are a manufacturer of cutting edge cosmetic products, pushing the boundaries of cosmetic innovation to bring niche solutions to the marketplace. Known best for their innovation surrounding cosmetic bonding adhesives for hair replacement, their GHOSTBOND product is the current global leading brand.

Best Start-Up Award – Acoustic Interiors – Local Enterprise Office Offaly

Acoustic Interiors provides noise reduction solutions, nationally and internationally, to the residential, commercial, entertainment, educational and medical sectors. They strive to improve the health, wellbeing and productivity of people through the use of good acoustic design. They offer a full turnkey solution from Investigation to consulting, design, build/fit-out, test and sign-off.

One to Watch Award – Streat School - Local Enterprise Office Monaghan

Streat School is the first end-to-end solution for Start-Ups and existing companies wanting to establish or pivot into a street food business. Streat School provides all the tools required for our customers in Ireland & UK to get their eats to the streets, including:

  • Bespoke 2.8 metre custom branded Hot Food & Coffee trailers
  • Custom manufactured Catering equipment for trailers
  • In-House branding & design services
  • Private workshops to mentor clients
  • An evergrowing digital street food community

Innovation Award – Cubbie – Local Enterprise Office Mayo

A better way to regulate autistic students and those with sensory needs. Regulation is personalised, predictable and reliable. It is achieved in less than 15 minutes with light supervision. Students with autism and sensory needs spend more time being productively educated and less time away from the classroom.

For further information:

Suzanne Meade – Fuzion PR – 086 413 3031 /

Declan Lee – Enterprise Ireland – 087 695 7451 /