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Carlow Business Awards 2016 Schedule

16th August – Launch of Carlow Business Awards 2016 at
Walsh Whiskey Distillery, Royal Oak
17th August, 12 noon – Nominations open
7th September, 12 noon – Close of Nominations
29th September, 7pm – Awards Ceremony, Visual Centre for
Contemporary Art, Carlow

For tickets telephone 059 913 2337 or email admin@carlowchamber.com

Why enter the Carlow Business Awards 2016

Entering the awards gives your business:

  • Increased business opportunities
  • The chance to build your business profile
  • Opportunities to network
  • Opportunity to gain valuable feedback from our expert panel of judges during the interview process, if your company is shortlisted
  • The chance to win a prestigious award
  • Publicity / media promotion opportunities
  • A morale boost for your company, your team and indeed your customers
  • A badge of success representing excellence among your industry peers.

The awards are more than what we have listed above, they are a celebration of the great businesses and people in County Carlow and its environs.  Join with us on 29th September to help celebrate.

Award Categories and Criteria

1. Carlow Best Eating Establishment:

Judges are looking for an eating establishment providing high quality food with excellent service and atmosphere.  The value must be consistent with the overall offering.


2. Carlow 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 for customer service, ambience of premises, cleanliness & hygiene and exterior and interior décor.

3. Carlow Community Award:

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.

4. Carlow 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.

5. Carlow 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.

6. Carlow 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.

7. Carlow 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, compliance with food hygiene regulations and HACCP principles.

8. Carlow’s Best Place to work Award:

This award is open to all businesses regardless of size, industry, sector or turnover. Employees at Carlow’s Best Place to work will find their leaders credible, respectful and fair.  They also take pride in the work they do and they share a sense of camaraderie with their fellow workers.  The evaluation of Carlow’s Best Place to Work will look at programmes, policies and practices that have been put in place by the business leaders for the team along with surveying of a sample of employees at the business.

The winning company in this category will be able to demonstrate how they are achieving the organisational goals through people doing their personal best and working together as a team.

9. Carlow Retailer of the Year – Best Customer Service:

This business will have shown a commitment to offering the highest levels of service to each and every customer.

Evaluation will take into account customer service and attention, shop cleanliness, layout and accessibility, in-store promotional materials and presentation of shop front.

10. Carlow’s Best new Retailer of the Year:

This award category is open to new retail outlets operating who opened since January 2015 providing goods and services to the general 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.

11. Carlow’s 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 out of 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.

12. 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 open to all those businesses, regardless of industry, location, size.  In accessing the business, the judging panel will access the operation, strategy and impact of the business.

13. Carlow Tourism Award (Attractions & Activities):

This award category is open to businesses operating within the attractions/activities sectors of tourism. Companies entering this category must be able to demonstrate the effective and creative use of marketing to jointly promote their own business and Carlow to drive visitors to the area. Businesses eligible for this category may include but are not limited to tourism attractions (public and private providers), tourism event providers, adventure providers and other tourism activities within the county.

14. Carlow’s 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.

15. Carlow 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 catering from a diverse range of events, for example, family destinations, business conferences, weddings, music events, sports events and entertainment venues.

16. Carlow’s 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.

17. Carlow Ambassador of the Year

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.

18. Carlow Lifetime Achievement Award:

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 in the course of 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.

19. Spirit of Carlow Award:

This Award gives recognition to those whose good deeds may have gone unnoticed.  This is a non-business category hosted in association with The Nationalist. Judges are looking for those individuals and/or organisations who selflessly serve others and are an inspiration to us all.

20. Carlow 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 commercial growth and achievement, innovation, creativity or community involvement.


Tickets for the Carlow Business Awards are €35.00 and may be bought from Carlow Chamber by calling 059 913 2337, emailing admin@carlowchamber.com.



Meet the Judges

Derek Shannon
President County Carlow Chamber / Manager Bank of Ireland, Carlow

Derek Shannon has been Branch Manager of Bank of Ireland Carlow since February 2013.  An employee of Bank of Ireland for the last 20 years, Derek has held  numerous management positions within the group, working in branches, operational and HR roles.  A native of New Ross, County Wexford, he has been living in Carlow area for the last 16 years. Derek is a graduate of UCD and Coventry Universities. A former Board Member of Newbridge Chamber of Commerce, he joined the Board of County Carlow Chamber in March 2013.


Caroline King
Group Finance Officer – MP Doyle Group

Started off in Keenan & co, I worked there for 7 years their Financial accountant, moved to Doyles in 1997 as their financial controller, in 2003 I took on the role as Group Finance Officer with the MP Doyle Group, working closely with Michael Doyle to develop all areas of the business from retail to wholesale to property.  I have been involved in the growth of the group to €25M turnover in the boom, then coming through the tough recession which hit every part of our business. Delighted to say now that we survived all the challenges the recession brought & that all our business’ are on the way up again & we hope to achieve a group turnover of circa €22M in 2016.
Personal attributes:
Peoples person, fair, highly motivated, ambitious, committed, honest , adaptable, welcome new challenges,
As a manager I like to bring my staff along with me, I pride myself in teaching new staff & seeing them develop into professional & competent individuals..
I’m a busy working mammy of 2 girls, I’m involved in training underage camogie in my local club in Paulstown.


Brian Ogilvie
Head of Research and Commercialisation Support, Institute of Technology Carlow

Brian has 22 years’ experience working in the area of product development and innovation for both SME and Multinational Organisations. He is responsible for the management of the Institute’s collaboration with industry, knowledge transfer function and Research, Development & Innovation supports.


John Madigan
Head of Products – Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland

John joined the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland in February 2015 from KBC Bank. At KBC Bank Ireland he had been Senior Manager Strategy and Planning, Retail Distribution as part of the Retail Distribution Leadership team since 2013.  There he led the rollout of KBCI Retail Distribution strategy, delivering on both the expansion of KBCI physical branch infrastructure and the expansion of KBCI product suite to include Consumer Finance products.  Prior to joining KBC, John spent 34 years with Bank of Ireland, where his roles included Head of Branches – Dublin Central and South, Head of Marketing and Communications for Retail in Ireland, Branch Manager in Carlow and various roles in planning, marketing, training and branch and business banking.


Sponsorship / Questions / Press

  • Sponsorship opportunities may still exist, please contact Brian O’Farrell, to discuss options on E-MAIL
  • Nominations must be submitted in advance of the deadline date of 7th September at 12 noon.
  • In certain categories, additional information may be requried from the nominee and / or nominator; please ensure compete and correct contact details
  • Press media queries, should be directed to Brian O’Farrell by E-MAIL.