The search for nominees begins today in the 'Most Promising Start-Up,' 'Business Growth,' 'Female Entrepreneur,' and 'Best Networker' categories, as part of an annual awards initiative for small local businesses. Organised by the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Enterprise Board, the two founders of the men's Irish fashion label: 'Counter Propaganda,' Richard Doody and Feargal Swann, won the overall award last year. The company designs and distribute men's casual-wear for retailers in Ireland, the UK, Spain, Romania and Japan, in addition to running their own retail outlets in Dublin.
Nominations for the 2011 County Enterprise Awards close on August 24th and there are no entry fees. After this closing date, a total of six finalists will be shortlisted across four categories for an interview with the judging panel, before exhibiting their products or services at a major enterprise event on September 20th.
The 'Best Networker' award is a new category this year, but Morgan Pierce from 'Bodysmart' clinched the 2010 'Female Entrepreneur of the Year' award. Kareena and Kenneth MacLeod from Aladdin Schools took the 'Most Promising Start-Up' Award last year and 'Counter Propaganda' won the 'Business Growth' award in addition to the overall title.
This year's winners will share a €6,000 prize fund and the overall winner will represent the county at the Black-tie National Enterprise Awards Finals in Dublin Castle this November. The CEO of the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Enterprise Board, Michael Johnson, is encouraging sole traders and small businesses in the region to put themselves forward for nomination.
He said: "Through these awards, we are setting out to recognise and reward those new start-ups and small business owners who are demonstrating innovative thinking in their business. Despite the current trading conditions, there are tens of thousands of small businesses which are still managing to grow and sustain their enterprise and we want to showcase their achievements."
He added: "If we are looking to small business owners to continue to grow jobs and support employment locally, then they must be able to rely on local enterprise supports in turn."
The winners of the County Annual Awards are being announced at the 'Fly Higher - Celebrating and Inspiring Enterprise' event on September 20th at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dún Laoghaire. Entry forms for the awards are available to download from www.dlrceb.ie/awards11 and must be returned before 5pm on Wednesday, August 24th.