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Padraic McElwee, Head of Enterprise Local Enterprise Office Clare, Áine Gleeson, Wowwee.ie, and Mayor of Clare Councillor Mary Howard. Photograph by Arthur Ellis.

Clare company wins at National Enterprise Awards

WowWee.ie who are supported by Local Enterprise Office Clare, were winners at this year’s National Enterprise Awards. The awards, which took place virtually were broadcast online from the Mansion House in Dublin, are in their 22nd year and run annually by the Local Enterprise Offices.

WowWee.ie took home the Pivot Award. A personalised gifting company who relied heavily on corporate gifting saw their business disappear once the pandemic hit but pivoted to sell direct to consumers. The response has seen them excel in an extremely competitive market. The business is owned by Áine Gleeson from Ennis.

Padraic McElwee, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Clare said, ”WowWee.ie is a real success story. The judges were particularly impressed by the grasp Áine had of her business model, her focus in these challenging times and where the opportunities lie for the future growth of her business. We are very proud of Áine and wish her continued success with her business WowWee.ie.”

The overall winner at the National Enterprise Awards was Mullingar mobile craft canning company, Bevcraft. Established in 2016 by friends Ciaran Gorman and Darren Fenton the company has gone from strength to strength. They now work with over 250 brands to can their produce using their mobile canning technology. They are operating across 5 European countries and in 2021 aim to handle over 50million cans.

To recognise the particular challenges overcome by businesses in 2020, two new awards were presented, the Brexit Ready Award and the Pivot Award. The Brexit Ready Award went to Knockanore Farmhouse Cheese who are supported by LEO Waterford. The raw milk artisan cheddar cheese producer’s impressive response to Brexit has seen them actually grow their business on the back of the UK leaving the EU, accessing new markets.

Announcing the awards virtually from the Mansion House, Minister English said, “The awards are an opportunity to celebrate the sheer talent, determination and success which exists in Irish businesses. The winners tonight are outstanding companies and, along with all the finalists, are trailblazers for every small business and budding entrepreneur across the country. I have no doubt that the companies here will continue to grow their businesses, create more jobs and make a significant contribution to their local economies. The foundations of the Irish economy is built on by small businesses and through these awards we can recognise their valuable role in society.”

This year’s winners share a €50,000 investment fund and eight regional winners were also announced on the night. 

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, and National Women’s Enterprise Day. 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. The LEOs work with over 7,000 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

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