The awards are designed to recognise the innovation, talent, quality and entrepreneurial spirit of businesses and the people within Carlow. While many of the categories remain unchanged from previous years, there are some changes. Full details of all the categories and criteria is listed below. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Carlow Business Awards Schedule
19th July – Launch of Carlow Business Awards 2018 at Swan Electrical
20th July, 12 noon – Nominations open
23rd August, 12 noon – Close of Nominations
27th September, 7pm – Awards Ceremony, Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow
Categories and Criteria for Carlow Business Awards 2018
This award is designed to recognise and celebrate the success of Community and Voluntary enterprises in County Carlow. Nominees will be organisations who have made a significant, sustained contribution to their community. Often working behind the scenes, these organisations provide their time and efforts to help their fellow citizens.
Best Licenced Premises:
Open to local pubs and hotels within the County. Judges are looking for premises that offer a comfortable environment suitable to their target market clientele. Nominees will be assessed on customer service, ambience, cleanliness. hygiene and exterior & interior décor.
Food and Beverage Producers Award:
This award recognises the importance of the Irish food business and the top performing businesses within this dynamic and innovative sector. Judges will be looking for superior quality and excellence from local food and beverage producers/manufacturers.
Nominees will demonstrate excellence and innovation in production and management processes.
Best Casual Dining:
This award represents the establishment that strives to provide the best coffee and/or dining experience, using locally sourced ingredients and delivering outstanding customer service. Knowledgeable staff, great quality food and a warm and inviting atmosphere. Nominate your go-to place for a casual lunch with friends, or a quick bite on the go
Best Presented Shopfront/Premises:
This award aims to create an awareness of the positive impression a well-presented shop front can create within the local community and to visitors alike especially when it is clean, tidy and well maintained. The Award will be judged in line with the following criteria; well-presented window display, design consideration of signage and associated frontage (signs should be simple and easy to understand, look attractive and made from durable, high quality materials), entrance – inviting, clean & attractive, overall Maintenance of the Shop Front including Sustainability, appropriateness of the shop front to the building or type of business.
This will be awarded in three areas as follows: Carlow Town, Muine Bheag/South Carlow, Tullow/North Carlow
Spirit of Carlow Award:
This Award gives recognition to those whose good deeds may have gone unnoticed. This is a non-business category. Judges are looking for those individuals and/or organisations who selflessly serve others and are an inspiration to us all.
Best New Retailer of the Year:
This award category is open to new retail outlets operating who opened since January 2017 providing goods and services to the public. To succeed in this category, you must demonstrate how your business sustains itself in a highly competitive market. The evaluation will take account of but is not limited to – customer service and attention, shop cleanliness, layout and accessibility, in-store promotional materials, presentation of shop front and application of innovative ideas or strategies.
Best Start Up / Emerging Business Award:
Open to all new and emerging non-retail businesses in Carlow who have been established within the previous 2 years. The winner will have displayed a strategic approach to business, successful implementation and will have good prospects for the future.
Customer Service – Professional Services:
This award recognises the importance of excellence in customer service among companies providing professional services that are committed to offering the highest values of customer care.
Nominees will come from professions such as estate agents, architects, solicitors, quantity surveyors, dental and medical providers, financial advisors, travel agents, banks and building societies.
Criteria for assessing this award will be customer service, product knowledge, meeting customer expectations.
Employee of the Year:
Carlow Businesses are often recognised for their friendly and helpful staff who go above and beyond in carrying out their duties whether in a customer facing or support roles. This award will recognise that individual, with assessment being based on various criteria including interview with the employee, report from manager/supervisor. Candidates must be nominated by their manager or a colleague.
Exporter of the Year Award:
This award is open to all businesses that export product or services. Judges will be looking at exporters who can demonstrate success in securing and building new export markets and who have developed a strategic export plan.
The judges will assess entrants for evidence of utilizing or creating innovative technology (hardware or software) that broaches new territory in some significant way and that represents progressive developments within a field for competitive advantage.
This award aims to recognise a firm which has deployed a marketing campaign to its marketing strategies and build the brand, conveying key messages and perspectives about a product or a business. The judges will be interested in how the campaign was created & executed to achieve specific marketing objectives, and they will be interested in the creative approach, media platform/s, and the business results achieved.
Ambassador of the Year: (This Category is not open to Public Nomination)
The winner will be the individual/business who has come to be clearly identified on a national scale as part of Brand Carlow. This award is open to all who have put the Carlow name out there in national media during the year.
Carlow’s Hidden Gem:
Not every business within Carlow operates on the High Street, and some are so great and well-hidden that we would prefer to keep them to ourselves, this category is about revealing these secret businesses. In accessing the business, the judging panel will access the operation, strategy, hidden nature and impact of the business.
Best Festival or Tourist Experience:
This award category is to recognise the best tourist or festival experience. Entrants in this category may include companies operating within the tourism sector who not only attract visitors to Carlow but also provide great and lasting memories, and festivals which have taken place over the last 18 months.
Venue of the Year Award:
This award is open to all businesses/organisations that provide truly memorable and quality experiences in their venues. Eligible entrants will have shown excellence in a range of events, for example, family, conferences, weddings, music, sports and entertainment.
Rural Innovation Award
Innovation is a key ingredient in many businesses, especially those in rural locations and entrepreneurs also need a good combination of focus, discipline and freedom. Nominees in the Rural Innovation Award must be able to clearly demonstrate how innovation has helped to transform their enterprise and the benefits it has delivered.
Business to Business Award:
Open to all businesses who provide product or services to businesses locally. Eligible nominees will come from sectors such as cleaning providers, security service providers, office equipment and service providers, it service providers and trade service providers.
The nominees will have demonstrated a high level of innovative service delivery and commitment to businesses they supply.
We are looking for a restaurant that ticks all the boxes – exemplary customer service, wonderful atmosphere and of course, outstanding food. An establishment that you would recommend to anyone who wants to impress their guests, and that you would return to time and time.
Retailer of the Year:
This business will have shown a commitment to offering the highest levels of service to every customer. Evaluation will consider customer service and attention, shop cleanliness, layout and accessibility, in-store promotional materials and presentation of shop front.
Lifetime Achievement Award: (This Category is not open to Public Nomination)
This Award will be presented to a pillar of the Carlow business community, a person who has led and inspired others, a person who has spent a lifetime in business – in good times and bad. The Lifetime Achievement recipient will have had a key impact in his/her sector, will have been the key driving force in that business and will have shown outstanding leadership qualities, developed and achieved clear business goals during their business life.
Their work will have made a significant difference in their community and sector; their commitment will have been more than simply doing a job. They will have gone above and beyond what was expected of them.
Outstanding Small Business of the Year:
The Outstanding Small Business Award recognizes those businesses employing fewer than 20 people on a full-time basis, who have made a long-standing contribution to the community. Nominees will be able to demonstrate success in company growth and they will also illustrate their commitment to research and the development of advances in the company’s industry sector. Consideration is also paid to their vision for sustainable growth, innovative and their impact on the wider community.
Business of the Year:
The Outstanding Business Award recognizes businesses for noteworthy accomplishments, long-standing contribution to the community, and significant community service efforts. The nominees will have made a major or visible contribution in the past year that reflects sustainable growth, innovation, creativity and has a continuing positive impact on the community.
Carlow Chamber of Commerce
Gateway Business Centre,
Ph: 059 91 32337