Wicklow Company Wins at National Enterprise Awards


Aqualicense, who are supported by Local Enterprise Office Wicklow, were this year’s overall winners at this year’s National Enterprise Awards. The awards, which took place at the Mansion House in Dublin, are in their 23rd year and run annually by the Local Enterprise Offices.

Aqualicense is an Arklow based company that provides consultation, planning, legal compliance and project delivery services for firms in the aquaculture and offshore energy industries. In 2021, Aqualicense expanded their operations into the highly regulated offshore renewable energy sector which has helped the company grow considerably and they are now looking to expand their expertise into new markets internationally.

Established in 2019 by Kate Dempsey the company has gone from strength to strength. Kate firmly believes that any business operating in the marine space can be cognisant of the resultant environmental pressures so that mitigation is built into the initial project planning. This ethos is evidenced by the focus of Aqualicense on marine restoration and sustainability while providing consulting services to the Offshore Aquaculture and Offshore Renewables industries.  Among other positions, Kate sits on the OEWG on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment as it relates to food security supporting the UN Committee on World Food Security. Kate holds an honours Irish Law Degree, HDip in business in Aquabusiness and is an Irish Aquaculture Nuffield Scholar.

Acting Head of Enterprise, Lousie Fleming, said, “Local Enterprise Office Wicklow in delighted that an Arklow-based company, Aqualicense Ltd., has been awarded the overall Winner of the National Enterprise Awards 2022. Serial Entrepreneur, Kate Dempsey, founded the business in 2019, providing services in aquaculture licensing. A loyal supporter of Co. Wicklow, Kate has created high level jobs in her four companies. She has been supported by Local Enterprise Office Wicklow since 2017, and all the team at the Local Enterprise Office Wicklow are thrilled with her success, and send congratulations to her and her hard-working staff.”

Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Shay Cullen, said “It is a fantastic to see a young Wicklow business competing against Ireland’s most enterprising companies, and being recognized as the best. Aqualicense is contributing to a new and exciting chapter of economic diversity in the maritime sector. This accolade will undoubtedly launch Arklow as a centre of excellence and innovation in this industry. Congratulations to Kate and her Team.”

Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, Mr. Brian Gleeson, said “Kate Dempsey’s passion for Irish marine development and her determination to succeed have been instrumental in her success to date. Supported by the Local Enterprise Office, and working together with Wicklow County Council to deliver on strategic opportunities in the marine sector, we are delighted to see her work celebrated on a national stage. She is driving high value job creation, and helping to ensure environmental sustainability is at the heart of Maritime development. Congratulations to Kate and her fantastic team.”

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 www.LocalEnterprise.ie


National Enterprise Awards 2022

National Enterprise Awards 2022 L-R Lorraine Gallagher WCC, Sarah Cosgrove Aqualicense, Ciaran Farrell Aqualicense, Kate Dempsey CEO Aqualicense, Brian Gleeson Chief Executive WCC, Lousie Fleming LEO Wicklow