Food and Drink winner: The Foods of Athenry. (Left to right) Sue O’Neill, chair, SFA, Siobhan and Paul Lawless, The Foods of Athenry, Declan Coppinger, Finance Manager, Bord Bia, sponsor of the Food and Drink Award and Sven Spollen-Behrens, director, SFA
From a converted bike shed to a thriving bakery in the west of Ireland, accidental entrepreneurs Siobhan & Paul Lawless have won the Food & Drink category at the SFA 2019 awards last week. Baking in the “free from” category they have become specialists in producing award winning products that are gluten free/dairy free and or vegan. Constantly innovating, they are looking forward to bringing new tastes to the market and with thousands of people looking at plant based healthy foods, watch this space!
“We are so delighted to win this award. It is our first time entering the SFA award and to say we were surprised when our name was called out would be the understatement of the year. The Foods of Athenry has been fortunate to be win over 70 taste awards since we started out so this is the first business award and it feels very special. It was a very busy time of the year when we entered and we are so glad that we did and the SFA is an amazing association. Thank you to all involved and a special thank you to all who work with us in the bakery, our brilliant customers, suppliers and stockists”
Siobhan & Paul Lawless (Accidental Entrepreneurs)
The Foods of Athenry 091 848 152
The Small Firms Association Awards 2019 Winners
Blueacre Technology named overall winner at the SFA National Small Business Awards 2019
Finalists from over 14 counties gathered in the RDS Concert Hall last night for the Small Firms Association National Small Business Awards 2019.
The awards celebrate the achievements of small business in Ireland and recognise the vital contribution of the sector to the Irish economy. The winners were selected from hundreds of applications received for the 2019 programme.
Blueacre Technology was named the winner of the Overall SFA National Small Business Awards 2019.
Blueacre Technology, founded in 2006 by Dr. David Gillen, is based in Dundalk, Co. Louth and employes 15 people. It provides specialist laser micromachining equipment to the medical device and other manufacturing industries. Processing thousands of high value parts daily from its 24/7 facility in Dundalk, Blueacre Technology offers highly sophisticated solutions to the most demanding engineering problems.
Announcing the winner, Sue O’Neill, SFA Chair and Chair of the Awards Judging Panel, said: “This is a fantastic example of real innovation in small business. Dr. David Gillen founder of Blueacre Technology adapted his experience in the semi-conductor industry to an opportunity he spotted in the medical technology sector in which Ireland is recognised as one of the five global emerging hubs. It’s this innovation and ambition in small business that we need to harness and support to ensure Ireland’s future economic success”.
SFA Director Sven Spollen-Behrens added: “We continue to grow an Awards programme, that positions the small business brand, as the backbone of the Irish economy. It has been great tonight to celebrate the best in small business. Small businesses contributed to the recovery of our economy by making difficult decisions in times of recession. They are proving yet again their resilience and flexibility when faced with new challenges."
The seven category winners are:
- Manufacturing: Blueacre Technology (Louth)
- Food & Drink: The Foods of Athenry (Galway)
- Services: Ryan's Pharmacy (Kildare)
- Innovator of the Year: NVP Energy (Galway)
- Exporter of the Year: Prodigy Learning (Dublin)
- Sustainable Energy: Monasterboice Inn (Louth)
- Outstanding Small Business (up to 5 employees): Horan Automation (Tipperary)
The following Emerging New Businesses (under 2 years) were recognised on the night.
- Get the Shifts (Clare)
- Gym+Coffee (Dublin)
- PeachyLean (Dublin)
- Zarrdia (Dublin)
- The UX Studio (Galway)
This is the fifteenth year of the SFA National Small Business Awards, an initiative of the Small Firms Association.
The award categories are sponsored by Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, Bord Gais Energy, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Three, PermanentTSB and One4All. The Emerging New Business section is sponsored by IE Domain Registry. Skillnet Ireland is the SFA Awards management training partner and Irish Independent is the media partner.
The Awards prize package for ALL finalists included participation in the SFA Business Connect event in February, a strategic management masterclass weekend, as well as broad-ranging national and local media coverage, all valued at €50,000.
The category winners were presented with a trophy and free membership of the Small Firms Association for one year. The overall winner also received a bursary of €5,000 to present to a charity of their choice (funded by the 2013 Overall Winner, Megazyme International Ireland).