#Limerick food companies scoop top spots at Enterprise Awards

Will Nice Pops were just one of the winners from the Limerick Enterprise awards. Bespoke Sauces won the overall and will go on to represent Limerick at the National Finals in June
Well Nice Pops were just one of the winners from the Limerick Enterprise awards. Bespoke Sauces won the overall and will go on to represent Limerick at the National Finals in June

Andrew Carey

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LIMERICK food companies are fast becoming some of the most recognised and successful enterprises in the region after the Bespoke Sauce Company landed the overall prize at the Limerick final of the National Enterprise Award 2016.

The Raheen based sauce supplier, set up by Liam Hayes and Vincent Sheahan to serve the national and international industry with the production of high quality, landed the award for the best manufacturing company in the region before being named as the overall Entrepreneur of the year.

Liam and Vincent, now, with Bespoke Sauces, go on to represent Limerick at the National finals which will be held on June 9 next at the Aviva Stadium.

Well Nice Pops – which is the brain child of friends Caitrin O’Brien and BJ Broderick – scooped the award for best innovation together with a cheque for €1,000.

Based in Tournafulla, Well Nice Pops embarked on the journey to supply ice pops made from 100 per cent fruit and vegetable juice – a first for the Irish market.

The entreprenerial friends for more than 12 years, used the support network supplied by the Limerick Enterprise Office to build and develop their business.

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Currently on trial in 19 Supervalu, the next step for the Limerick ‘pop-tastic’ duo is to take their product to the international market.

Speaking at the awards, Limerick Mayor Cllr Liam Galvin commended the “bravery of small Limerick businesses and young entrepreneurs” who he said were the “life blood of the community”.

“Those micro-enterprises in receipt of awards are at the leading edge of the economic growth and development of Limerick City and County. 90 per cent of all businesses in Limerick are micro-enterprises and it is reassuring to see that the strong entrepreneurial spirit that has always existed in Limerick is continuing to produce ambitious and competent young business people capable of generating a range of new business ideas and consequently, new employment opportunities for the wider community.”

Mayor Galvin said the level of investment in local businesses made by Local Enterprise Office Limerick is helping to create new jobs as well as a supportive environment for new and existing micro and small enterprises to expand their operations.

The total amount of grant aid approved by LEO Limerick in 2015 was €808,362, in respect of 40 projects, of which €270,108 (33.4%) was refundable aid. The amount paid out by LEO Limerick in respect of grant aid during the period was €717,758 of which €237,617 (33.1%) was paid by way of refundable aid.

The financial assistance paid by LEO Limerick during 2015 provided assistance for the creation of 70 additional jobs in the sector. Employment projections by the promoters of projects approved during 2015 has indicated an additional 120 jobs will be created this year as a direct result of the financial assistance received.

“Since its establishment in 2014, the Local Enterprise Office has proven to be an important facilitator of direct supports, business growth and jobs in the local start-up and SME sector, added Mayor Galvin.

Eamon Ryan, Head of Enterprise with Limerick City and County Council said, “The Local Enterprise Office, through its programme of support puts micro and small business at the heart of job creation locally. Part of this process is to provide local entrepreneurs with a platform to showcase their business ideas to a wider audience. In doing so, LEO Limerick is contributing to the success of our smaller indigenous businesses, both new and existing, which are central to the future economic development of this region.”

Three other category winners were announced at the awards lunch held at the Dunraven Arms in Adare which saw Hospital based McNulty Fuels and Eric McNulty, land the best service business award, while McAdare with Declan and Daniel McCarthy, was awarded has the best start up company for 2016.

EJS Plastics, a 2012 established company, specialises in moulding precision engineering and injection tools to service manufacturing companies. Barry and Annette Madden run their operation from their Galvone Industrial Estate base and have some development expansions on the horizon.