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‘Door always open’ to help as Local Enterprise Week proves a big hit again

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The finalists in the Laois County Enterprise awards with guests at the Killeshin Hotel last week. Picture: Michael Scully

Local Enterprise Week was held all across the country last week – with numerous events held in Laois from Monday to Friday.

Free one-to-one mentoring sessions, a business women’s lunch and seminars on productivity and digital trends were part of the schedule in Laois, all of which were well attended.

The week culminated with the presentation of the Laois Enterprise Awards at a lunch in the Killeshin Hotel on Friday.

The four finalists were all category winners with Danny Hanlon, from Hanlon Woodcraft Ltd, in Aghaboe announced as the overall winner.

The three-time Laois senior hurling championship winner with Clough-Ballacolla designs and manufactures kitchens from a factory at the back of his parents house, having set it up in his early 20s.

He now employs seven people and on the back of this award will represent Laois at the National Enterprise Awards in the Mansion House in Dublin in May.

He came in for special praise from John Mulholland, Chief Executive of Laois County Council.

“You have survived the turmoil of the last 10 years and you have to be congratulated for sticking with it and coming through the tough times.

“You’re an example of someone keeping rural enterprise alive.”

The other winners were:

Start-Up: David Walsh-Kemmis, Ballykilcavan Brewery

David Walsh-Kemmis has set up his own range of craft beers and is now brewing on his farm outside Stradbally that has been in the family for 13 generations. He is also developing a visitor centre with tours beginning in May.

Cathaoirleach John King presenting David Walsh Kemmis of Ballykilcavan Brewing Company with the Best Start-up Business Award

Export: Alan Meredith, Alan Meredith Studios

An architect that specialises in wood design, Alan Meredith operates from his studio in Mountmellick and has clients in Ireland, the UK and the USA. Completed projects include: one of a kind furniture, public space design, and a collection of sculptural wood-turned vessels.

Cathaoirleach John King presenting Alan Meredith of Alan Meredith Studio with the Best Export Business Award

Innovative: Síle Headen, Machado Men’s Grooming

Síle has developed a range of men’s grooming products. From Spink, she is based in the Clonminam Business Park and is selling her products online.

Cathaoirleach John King resenting Sile Headen of Machado Men’s Grooming with the Innovation Award

All four winners have received support from the Laois Local Enterprise Office and both John Mullholland and Evelyn Reddin encouraged other businesses, no matter what stage they are at, to avail of the help available from Laois County Council.

“Both the Business Support Unit and the Local Enterprise Office are there to help. And they will receive you very well,” said John Mulholland.

“LEO supported 67 new jobs last year,” he added.

“The onus is on us to support,” said Evelyn Reddin. “We recognise the contribution that small companies make and our door is always open to help.”

Presenting the awards was Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council John King while Seamus Doran, a Business Advisor with Laois LEO, and Gerry Murphy, Director of Services in Laois County Council,

Danny and Eileen Hanlon of Hanlon Woodcraft, Aghaboe, being presented with their award by Cathoirleach John King, Seamus Doran, business advisor with Laois LEO and Evelyn Reddin, CEO of Laois LEO. Photo: Michael Scully
Pictured at the County Final of the National Enterprise Awards in the Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise. John Mulholland (Chief Executive, Laois Co Council), Evelyn Reddin (CEO Laois LEO), overall winner Danny Hanlon (Hanlon Woodcraft), Seamus Doran (Business Advisor LEO) and Gerry Murphy (Financial Officer Laois Co Council). Photo: Michael Scully – no reproduction fee.

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