John O’Reilly, Strikebox Innovations Ltd, a previous winner of the Westmeath County Enterprise Awards.

County Enterprise Awards set for Athlone this March

The National Enterprise Awards competition is organised annually by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Network to acknowledge the achievements of the small business sector.

The competition is sponsored nationally by the network of Local Enterprise Offices and is the only national competition specifically for the micro-enterprise sector. It is hosted on an annual basis to acknowledge the achievements of small enterprise and their valuable contribution to the local economy.

The competition is open to Westmeath businesses operating in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors who have received financial assistance from the LEO Westmeath.

Businesses must have 10 or fewer full-time employees as of December 31, 2022. Companies that have received support by way of feasibility studies or R&D assistance from other agencies are not excluded. Previous Westmeath County finalists are eligible to enter.

This year’s competition is now open for entries. Closing Date for completed applications is Friday February 16 next.

Entries will be judged in accordance to marketing strengths, financial strength, innovation and technology, entrepreneurial skills and business plan. Completed application forms together with a Business Plan and the most recent financial statements must be submitted for adjudication.

The winner will be announced and presented at the county Westmeath final of the competition, to be held at a lunchtime reception on Wednesday, March 6 in the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone.

Previous winners of the County Enterprise Awards include Watt Footprint Ltd, Strikebox Innovations Ltd, Bevcraft Group.

The overall winner will go forward to represent Westmeath at the National Finals to be held in the Mansion House, Dublin, on May 23, where there are further prizes to be won.

The overall county winner will receive a prize fund of €5,000 as well as the opportunity to represent Westmeath in the national final and be in with a chance to win a part of the €50,000 national prize fund.

More than 300 new jobs were created last year by companies supported by Westmeath Local Enterprise Office. According to the annual results of the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) for 2022, LEO Westmeath supported companies created 303 new jobs, a 21 per cent increase on 2021, when 249 new jobs were created.

The net jobs created by LEO Westmeath supported clients in 2022 was 195, which takes into account companies that amalgamated, ceased trading and those that transferred to Enterprise Ireland.