Across Ireland hundreds of small businesses, existing and new, are supported in their growth and development by Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) from each county. Annually each LEO selects a business to represent the county in the National Enterprise Awards.
Minister for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD; “Through the National Enterprise Awards we get recognise some businesses who have been excelling and for the past 20 years they have been the benchmark for excellence in micro-enterprise across the country. Looking through the list of not only winners, but finalists, through the years you see some outstanding Irish, and now international, companies.“
In March 2022 we were selected to represent Kilkenny at the National Enterprise Awards which were held in the Mansion House, Dublin in June. As a long-standing local craft business this award was a huge acknowledgement by our County Council for the craftsmanship, employment and business which we continue bring to our local community. It also recognises the evolution and growth of our business which, despite the challenges of Covid, continues to go from strength to strength.
With support and coaching from three experienced LEO mentors (Sean Fleming, Financial Mentor; Rosie Dunne, Management Consultant and Terry Harmer (Presentation Skills Mentor), Cushendale presented at the national finals in Mullingar against 29 other selected businesses. The final involved a presentation and questioning from a panel of experienced consultants, business owners and National Enterprise officials. Despite the hours involved in preparing for the presentation (and the nerves of course!) it was the help and guidance of the team at LEO Kilkenny, Catherine Hennessy in particular, and the mentors that made the experience possible and surprisingly enjoyable! It is not often that one has the opportunity to talk candidly about achievements and aspirations and to get first hand feedback on your business in a competitive yet positive & safe environment.
Following the presentation stage we then attended a gala event at Dublin’s iconic Mansion House in where delegates from each County Council and selected business attended for a feast for the eyes and a series of presentations.
While we didn’t bring home a national award we were hugely honoured to have been chosen by Kilkenny County Council to represent all the talented businesses in Kilkenny. All of the effort with LEO Kilkenny and mentors was not lost either, the conversations and reflection that was involved in preparing for the finals helped clarify our business plans and direction, and stretch our ambitions for what we can achieve in the future!