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

17th July – Launch of Carlow Business Awards 2019 at Autolaunch

18th July, 12 noon – Nominations open

22nd August, 12 noon – Close of Nominations

26th September, 7pm – Awards Ceremony, Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow

For tickets telephone 059 913 2337 or email


Tickets for the Carlow Business Awards are €45.00 and may be purchased from Carlow Chamber by calling 059 913 2337, emailing

To Nominate

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Categories and Criteria for Carlow Business Awards 2019

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Best Dining Experience
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

5. 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

6. 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.

7. Emerging Business Award
Open to all new and emerging businesses in Carlow who have been established within the previous 2 years since July 2017. The winner will have displayed a strategic approach to business, successful implementation and will have good prospects for the future.

8. Customer Service Award
This award recognises the importance of excellence in customer service among companies committed to offering the highest values of customer care. Nominees will need to demonstrate how they consistently go the extra mile for their customers and the impact this has had on their business. They will need to highlight what actions they have taken to enhance and strengthen their customer service across all levels and what plans they have for the future. Criteria for assessing this award will include customer service, product knowledge, meeting customer expectations and case study.

9. Professional Services Award
The award recognises excellence in customer service, product knowledge and commitment to developing sustainable business practices across the full range of activities. Nominees will come from professions such as estate agents, architects, insurance companies, travel agents, solicitors, dental and medical providers, accountants, banks and financial advisers.

10. Best Training Initiative’s
This award recognises a company or organisation which has invested in its people through implementing the most effective training programme’s for its employees in support of the company’s objectives. Nominees will need to outline the programme/s, their objectives and the results achieved.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. Technology Award
The judges will assess nominees for evidence of utilising or creating innovative technology (hardware or software) that broaches new territory in some significant way and that represents progressive developments for competitive advantage.

14. Marketing Award
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.

15. Sustainability Award
This award is designed to recognise products, processes, or policies that support a greener, more sustainable environment. Nominees can be from both business and community and must be able to demonstrate actions and results to date along with future plans.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. Culture, Heritage & Tourism Award
This award is to recognise excellence in the areas of Culture, Heritage and Tourism. Open to Festivals, Tourist experiences and Hospitality Providers who provide truly memorable and quality experience. Eligible entrants will be asked to highlight the achievements and challenges that they have overcome in business. Special consideration will also be given for tourism businesses which have shown innovation in all areas of the business which have impacted on success of the business

19. 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.

20. 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.

21. 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.

22. Family Business of the Year
The family business truly is the backbone of the Irish economy, from small home-grown businesses to established and international family run businesses. Nominees should tell the story of their Family Business and the industry they operate in, demonstrating the uniqueness of brand or quality in products, services and delivery mechanisms. The judges are looking for details on the family members that work in the business and how it is structured in terms of responsibilities, decision making and co-operation; and an understanding of how being family owned helps with the success of your business.

23. 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.

24. 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.