Local Enterprise OfficeUnison Engineering Services has been named as Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 in the Limerick Final of the National Enterprise Awards at a ceremony in the Limerick Strand Hotel today. The Limerick City based supplier and servicer to the Irish dairy, food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries was one of five companies presented with awards by Cllr. Maria Byrne, Deputy Mayor of Limerick. The other Limerick Final category winners were Fusion Magazine (Best Service Business), Key Ingredients (Best New Start up), Electricity Exchange (Business with Best Development Potential) and Adare-based Aisling Maher (Innovation).

Unison Engineering will be Limerick's representative in the National Final of the National Enterprise Awards on 11th June in Kilmainham, Dublin.

The competition is organised by Ireland's network of Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) to give recognition to the contribution of micro enterprises to the national economy. Past winners of the national competition include Irish Yogurts from West Cork, Hot Irishman Irish Coffee from Carlow, Grouse Recording Studios from Westmeath, and Paul Collins of Limerick-based DesignPro Ltd who was guest speaker at today's ceremony.

Deputy Mayor Maria Byrne congratulated the category winners in the Limerick Final, adding that he was "most impressed with the standard, commitment and drive of those who had entered the competition."

"This awards scheme further illustrates that LEO Limerick is in the front line in delivering business growth and jobs, providing direct support and pulling together all the players – agencies, the local authority and the private sector – to support everyone with a good business idea and strengthen the enterprise sector in Limerick," stated the Deputy Mayor.

Figures released today by the Limerick Local Enterprise Office Limerick reveal that 15 projects for start up businesses and business expansions were approved during the first quarter of 2015. The grant total to date has totalled €341,000 from which 30 full-time jobs have been created in Limerick. The recently launched 2015 Spring/Summer training programme for local entrepreneurs has over 60 training courses on offer between now and June.

"Over 90% of all businesses in Limerick are micro-enterprises and the Limerick Enterprise office plays a crucial role in supporting these entrepreneurs through the initial difficult years of business. As Mayor, I support the continued investment of public money in The Local Enterprise Office and the return we get from such investment is great as the Board can continue to support small business and create jobs in the City," said Deputy Mayor Byrne.

Speaking at the Awards event in Limerick today, Eamon Ryan CEO of LEO Limerick said: "LEO, 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 successes of our smaller indigenous businesses, both new and existing, which are central to the future economic development of this region."

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