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09 February 2015

SFA National Small Business Awards 2015: Finalists Showcase

Posted By: AIB Business
SFA National Small Business Awards 2015: Finalists Showcase

Following an intensive judging process, the Small Firms Association (SFA) recently announced its short-list of 38 companies for the SFA National Small Business Awards 2015. On 5th February, the successful companies were showcased at an event in the Printworks Conference Centre, Dublin Castle. 

This annual event highlights the entrepreneurship, innovation and achievements of small enterprises in Ireland. We would like to congratulate our customers for being award finalists in the following categories:




Celtic Pure*

Celtic Pure is an award-winning water bottling plant in County Monaghan, employing over 40 people. The company won top prize at the British Bottlers Institute Awards, recognising the quality of its natural spring water, and aims to produce 100 million bottles in 2015. Celtic Pure is investing in the latest technology to allow it to achieve 30% weight on plastic, thereby reducing its carbon footprint.


*Celtic Pure has also been nominated in the Food & Drink category


Eight Degrees Brewing Co*

Located in the beautiful Ballyhoura region of Ireland, Eight Degrees Brewing Company makes modern interpretations of traditional Irish ale and lager styles, providing distinctive malt and hop characteristics. The results are a range of full flavoured, tasty ales made from natural ingredients. The company’s beers have received rave reviews in the national and international media.


*Eight Degrees Brewing Co has also been nominated in the Food & Drink category


Laois Sawmills

Laois Sawmills Limited is based on the outskirts of Portlaoise and is a state-of-the-art sawmill processing 100,000 tonnes of log material annually. Currently employing 42 people, Laois Sawmills endeavours to provide high quality products, a reliable service and a competitive price. The company’s sawmills process logs into a high quality finished product, whilst its wood pellet and wood chip plant – under the Greenwood Flag – handles sawdust and woodchip by-products to produce wood pellets and dried woodchip. Laois Sawmills also produces fencing products and, through Laois Garden World, sells its own products along with a wide range of complementary products.



Nugent Manufacturing Ltd. *

Based in Naas and established in 1998, Nugent Manufacturing are specialists in steel manufacturing.  Their purpose built workshop is fully equipped with the latest plant and machinery. The company prides itself on skill, expertise, quality and teamwork.  Customer offerings include a complete package of 3D BIM design, and manufacture and erection of structural and architectural steelwork.  Nugent Manufacturing takes quality, safety and environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and is committed to providing the highest standards to customers on time, on budget.


*Nugent Manufacturing has also been nominated in the Energy and Environmental Sustainability Category



Topform has manufactured laminate kitchen worktops in Gort, Co. Galway for over 38 years. As well as supplying the Irish market, its products are exported to the UK and Australia. Topform offers bespoke solutions, innovative textures and designs chosen from around the world. The company is committed to an intensive programme of Research & Development and is considered by clients to be the best Creative Worktop Solution provider in the market. Topform’s team pride themselves on best practice and principles of Lean Manufacturing, and the company is continuously evolving to service customers and meet market needs.


*Topform has also been shortlisted in the Small Business Exporter of the Year category


Food & Drink

Cornstore Restaurant Group

Located in Cork and Limerick, the Cornstore is a progressive and innovative restaurant, which specialises in dry aged steaks, seafood and award-winning cocktails. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, it offers a casual, lively dining experience in a Manhattan-style setting. Innovation is an important ingredient as the company dry ages all its beef in-house for up to 35 days, resulting in the most flavoursome steak around. Cornstores’ new brainchild Coqbull, an exciting new brand around rotisserie chicken and burgers, has enjoyed huge success in Cork City since opening last year, with plans to open in Dublin and Limerick in 2015 already underway.

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Heritage Hampers

Established in 1994, Carrigaline-based Heritage Hampers & Gifts is an online emporium for deluxe food hampers, wine gifts and premium gifts to suit any occasion. In 2011, Heritage Wines & Spirits was set up and is now a major importer of wines, spirits, beers, craft beers, cider and minerals – supplying wholesalers, pubs and off licences throughout Ireland.

Heritage Hampers provides inspiration for the perfect gift, and the company aspires to be the first choice for anyone who appreciates the finer things in life.





Blanchardstown-based Dualtron supplies Money Handling Systems, Cashless Catering Systems and Point of Sale Systems for Corporate Hospitality and Retail. Dualtron has supplied nearly 3,000 money sorters, which prepare ATM-ready notes, and its cashless catering systems are used in the Pharmaceutical, IT, Finance, Manufacturing, Education and Healthcare sectors. Both cash and cashless hospitality systems are equipped with dynamic loyalty and promotion engines, which drive more business. Dualtron has a very experienced technical support team and provides project management services, including customisation and training. Getting things right first time is the company’s top priority, with the motto “You can count on Dualtron.”



Team Horizon

Team Horizon is a specialist manufacturing consultancy with offices in Westport and Dublin. They partner with both the life science and food communities to enable clients to deliver safe products to their customers. Their team of engineers and scientists have expertise in the design and delivery of “product critical” manufacturing systems, including both the built environment and production equipment.

Team Horizon was formed in 2010 by six engineers working for the pharmaceutical and Bio-technology manufacturing industry. In a four year period, the company has grown from six to 45 staff. Team Horizon now consists of three business units – Recruitment and Resourcing, Engineering and Design, and Research & Development, delivering projects in Ireland, UK, US and the Benelux region.



Outstanding Small Business


DB Sports Tours

DB Sports Tours is Ireland’s leading team tour specialist, with access to some of the biggest academies in the world, including Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid. Team Tours include arranging all aspects of your tour – transfers, professional academy coaching, matches, stadium tours, fitness testing, sports psychology and education classes. DB Sports Tours specialises in training camps, team tours, sports seminars and player representation. The company is FIFA Player Agent Licensed, one of only three FIFA Match Agent License holders in Ireland, and Fully Licensed and Bonded by the Irish Aviation Authority.



Kevin Egan Cars

Kevin Egan Cars, based in Sligo, is an independent used car dealership that keeps 40-50 vehicles in stock. Prices range from €5000 to €25000. The business offers a minimum of a one-year warranty on all vehicles, with 65% of its customers availing of their two-year warranty package. This is just one of the unique selling points as an independent operator. Kevin Egan Cars has won various national awards within and outside its industry.



Italian Tile and Stone

Importers and retailers of quality Italian tiles, Italian Tile and Stone offers homes and businesses throughout Ireland the best possible choice in quality floor and wall coverings.

The latest ranges from the best Italian tile manufacturers is offered. With the fastest lead times in the industry, you can choose any of the company’s thousands of tiles, in the knowledge that they will be at your door in less than two weeks. The projects division has supplied over 2,000 new homes as well as commercial projects such as the Shelbourne Hotel and Twitter headquarters. Italian Tile and Stone believes that no matter how big or small the job or budget, it is worth getting it right first time.




Innovator of the Year



Climote, a Dundalk-based business, is a leading home technology company founded in 2011 by Derek Roddy and Eamon Conway.  It evolved from Ireland's largest home technology company, Smarthomes, totalling more than 12 years’ experience in the smart homes space. Climote is dedicated to the innovation of home technology, and its Climote Hub product allows users to control and set their home heating straight from their phone, no matter where in the world they are. Whether it is to heat the home remotely during a cold spell or to ensure it is warm when waking up, Climote enables customers to control their heating timings and temperature via smartphone, SMS or online.  It increases efficiency and reduces wastage. 


*Climote has also been nominated in the Energy and Environmental Sustainability category



ClubstoHire is a golf equipment rental company, allowing the travelling golfer to reserve their preferred set of clubs online and collect them at their location of choice.  The service takes the hassle out of carrying golf clubs abroad, saving the user considerable money and affording the golfer the opportunity to try the latest brands from premium suppliers.

Since 2010, the company has expanded to 22 locations across Europe and beyond.  A stock of over 4,000 sets ensures a wide choice, at a competitive price, ranging from €35-€60 per week. Expansion is set to continue into the US in 2015.


*Clubstohire has also been shortlisted in the Small Business Exporter of the Year category



CustomsMatters is the leading full customs clearance service provider in Ireland and the UK.  With 27 years’ experience in the Customs arena, CustomsMatters has led the way in providing the Automation, Brokerage and Compliance of international trade.  The company is AEO certified since 2009, and helps businesses that are importing and/or exporting with CustomsMatters’ total customs solution.  Its award-winning software solution “myCustoms” and Professional Services Trade Compliance team provide purpose-driven, customs-related solutions to meet specific customer requirements. As the tagline indicates “We Make Customs Clear.”




Wicklow-based Ventac design, manufacture and supply acoustic solutions for Commercial and Industrial Vehicle OEMs. Serving a variety of sectors worldwide, the product range supports the requirements of a broad range of vehicle applications.

Customers include leading international manufacturers of industrial, agricultural and large passenger vehicles. Ventac reduces vehicle noise levels to meet legislative levels and increase comfort levels for its customers. Ventac believes it is unique in providing both analysis of noise problems along with the design and manufacture of the solution. Having its own Acoustic Research Laboratory allows Ventac to develop and tailor innovative solutions to meet customer requirements.




Sligo-based VOYA, a multi-award winning family business, is proud to have produced the world's first range of certified organic seaweed-based products and therapies. Within six years, VOYA has amassed a range of beauty products and therapies for hotel bedroom amenity, airline amenity, retail and professional spa treatments. All VOYA products contain extracts of wild organic seaweed, which is sustainably hand harvested off the Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland, by the Walton family. From a very modest start-up, VOYA now exports to 37 countries worldwide.


*Voya has also been shortlisted in the Small Business Exporter of the Year category


Energy and Environmental Sustainability

Premium Power

Balbriggan-based engineering company Premium Power designs systems and solutions for high tech companies to make their electrical systems more efficient, more reliable and safer. It offers consultancy and design services, and supplies hardware and software solutions to pharmaceutical and medical device companies, data centres, hospitals, airports and utilities.




VERDE LED, headquartered in Cork, is a market leader and one of the largest commercial LED Lighting manufacturers and suppliers in Europe.  It has a global presence in the pharmaceutical, industrial, data centre, call centre, retail and commercial/office sectors. Focusing on quality design and certification, VERDE LED products meet the most stringent specification requirements globally. VERDE LED has a design team who specialise in lighting design for new or existing facilities. The dedicated R&D department optimise product development to ensure that the product supplied is of premium grade, with the highest quality components, longest warranties and highest output per watt on the market.



Emerging New Business


Dublin-based TenderScout helps clients increase the revenues they achieve from public procurement competitions.

€350bn is spent by suppliers worldwide writing losing proposals. €150m of this is in Ireland.  Successful suppliers use TenderScout’s technology-based service to qualify opportunities, make data-driven decisions, build competitive differentiation and win more often and more profitably. TenderScout clients are mainly Legal, ICT, Healthcare and other professional service providers. In 2014, TenderScout’s Top 20 clients won double the national average (71% vs 29%) of contracts and enjoyed double-digit revenue growth. The company’s highly regarded annual report is a key benchmark and influencer for policy makers, buyers and suppliers alike.




Based in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, Herdwatch is “CRM for cows”. It is an innovative mobile app, which helps cattle farmers stay compliant with complex regulations on animal welfare and traceability. It also gives them access to valuable farm records and animal history – anytime, anywhere. Herdwatch was launched in Ireland in February 2014 and has already attracted over 700 farmers on an annual subscription of €99. Herdwatch is fully approved by the Irish Department of Agriculture, and a UK version is currently being developed. There are over 100,000 cattle farmers in Ireland, and 2 million in the EU and US alone, representing an estimated €100 Million per year opportunity, given the right attention and funding.



Dúnmasc Genetics

Located outside Portlaoise town just off the M7, Dúnmasc Genetics provide products, services and training to the farming, veterinary and Artificial Insemination industries and are approved and licenced by The Department of Agriculture. Services include Bovine Embryo Transfer, Ultrasound Scanning and training courses such as DIY Artificial Insemination, Ultrasound scanning and Hoof Care, which are offered to Veterinarians, Farmers & Technicians.

Over the past year, the company has expanded into the distribution and sales of Bovine Semen. Dúnmasc Genetics is the first company in Ireland to develop a mobile app, which aids farmers in selecting and purchasing bull semen.


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