In association with Shannon Airport, the Galway Chamber Business Awards and Gala Ball was hosted by President Conor O’Dowd on Saturday in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Galway.
On the night, the overall Winner of the Galway Chamber Business of the Year Award 2016 was presented to Colm Feeney, Source and Supply Logistics. SSL were Category Winners in the Best SME Category also.
SSL Logistics is a family owned business established in Galway in 2000. Set up as a two-person operation, it currently employs 90 people offering a full suite of supply chain services with almost 50% of sales generated from export sales.
Speaking on receiving the Award, Colm said that the success of SSL was due to the staff, all of whom are passionate about and committed to the company and its work.
In a wide ranging address to the attendees, Chamber President Conor O’Dowd said that the awards show that the spirit of enterprise has never been as evident as it currently is in Galway.
He outlined the achievement of Galway during 2016 and said that these successes would result in a spotlight being turned on Galway and an opportunity for us to all to showcase how good a place this is to run a business, to live and to raise a family.
“The opportunity is great and it is my firm belief and that of the Chamber Council that, with appropriate support from local and national government, there exists an opportunity to significantly increase the city’s footprint in the years ahead.
“Let us challenge the prevailing thinking whereby infrastructural investment is predicated on low single digit population growth resulting in us turning away potential FDI due to a lack of infrastructure.
“Instead, let us, in our dialogue with national and local government, seek to change the narrative so that critical infrastructure is prioritised and put in place now to allow the city to comfortably cope with a doubling of its population by 2040.
“Galway Chamber has raised the idea of the formation of the Galway Development Authority or GDA, as a vehicle which could be used to radically transform the city.
“Critically, the GDA would be charged with developing a master plan and planning schemes for the strategic lands under its remit and such a plan would be reviewed through a public consultation process and approved by government.”
He finished by urging local TDs and those in local government to embrace the idea of a GDA as one of the tools which could be used to channel this ambition and significantly increase our growth rates.
The Category Winners of the Galway Chamber Business Awards 2016, in association with Shannon Airport were:
Category 1: Best Emerging Enterprise sponsored by WestBIC and Galway Technology Centre
Category 2: Best Large Company sponsored by VHI Healthcare
Category 3: Best SME sponsored by AIB
Source and Supply Logistics Ltd
Category 4: Best Customer Service sponsored by Bank of Ireland
Category 5: Promoting Galway sponsored by Galway City Council
Category 6: Best Social Enterprise/CSR sponsored by SCCUL Enterprises
Special President’s Award
On the night of the awards the ‘Special President’s Award’ sponsored by the Port of Galway was also presented.
The Award was given to Mary Bennett, Proprietor of the Treasure Chest. This Award is given to someone whose contribution to the business life of Galway is outstanding in every way.
The recipient of this award is chosen by the President of Galway Chamber in consultation with his officer board.
Mary Bennett is a former President of Galway Chamber, a former President of Chambers Ireland, a current Board member of the Chamber, a past International President of SKAL and has been awarded the Freedom of Galway City.
In her acceptance speech focusing on her journey in life, Mary stressed the importance of giving something back to one’s community and said that one of her mentors always said that we are cogs in a greater wheel and as such, we must make our contribution.
Mary received a standing ovation from over 420 attendees on the night.
The actual awards are unique pieces by sculptor Donnacha Cahill from Athenry, who specialises in metal. The sculptures are based on the idea of reaching for, and achieving, excellence in enterprise.