New awards from Local Enterprise Offices help “showcase” local craft and design talent
The 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 runs from January 22nd to 25th is organised by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland.
The number of LEO-supported companies at Showcase has jumped from 97 in 2016 to 112 in 2017. Local companies supported by LEO Wicklow include Kajsa Kinsella from Arklow, Aoife Mullane of a.mullanedesign in Bray, Asta Gauronskyte from Old Court Linens based in Blessington and Eoin Shanley of Copper Fish Studios based in Delgany.
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.”
Sheelagh Daly with Local Enterprise Office Wicklow 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.”
Bryan Doyle, Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council stated that “County Wicklow has always had a vibrant craft and design culture. This new award competition will acknowledge excellence in this innovative sector and shine the spotlight on the Showcase Exhibition which many Wicklow companies have successfully used in the past as a springboard to grow their profile and secure valuable sales. “
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 www.localenterprise.ie.