A Co. Galway organic farming business has won the top prize of €10,000 cash in the SCCUL Enterprise Awards.
The winner was announced at the annual SCCUL Enterprise Awards prize giving ceremony and business expo which was hosted by NUI Galway in the Bailey Allen Hall, NUI Galway today.
Established in 2006, Green Earth Organics is the brainchild of Kenneth and Jenny Keavey, who relocated from London to take over the farm that had been in their family for three generations. Now one of the biggest organic vegetable farms in the West of Ireland, they currently employ seven full time and two part time people.
Kenneth Keavey, owner of Green Earth Organics, was presented with his prize by Martin Sisk, President of the Irish League of Credit Unions, and Padraig O’Callaghan, Chairman of St Columba’s Credit Union Galway, who sponsored the winner’s prize.
Speaking at the event, Mr Keavey said he was honoured and delighted to receive this award.
“In 2005, I left my well paid job as a senior research scientist working for a bio tech company in the UK to come back to Galway to start Green Earth Organics. My wife Jenny and I had a vision to develop an organic food production and supply business from the family farm. Over the six years, we’ve worked hard and changed our business model by taking risks and looking outside our current box,” he said.
Mr Keavey said he and his wife were really thrilled to receive the award, as last year they named One to Watch in the SCCUL Enterprise Awards. They would invest the money back into the business to help take it to the next level.
Green Earth Organics also receives a €2,500 advertising package from media sponsor, the Galway Independent and a specially commissioned sculpture by Galway based sculptor, Liam Butler. In addition to claiming the overall prize, Green Earth Organics won the SCCUL Enterprise Agriculture & Food Award.
Green Earth Organics was selected as the overall winner in the SCCUL Enterprise Awards by a judging panel which included Bobby Kerr, entrepreneur, broadcaster and former RTE Dragon; Barry Egan, Director, West Region Enterprise Ireland; Hannah Kiely, CEO, HC Financial Advisors Ltd; John Power, CEO Aerogen, and Dr Jacinta Thornton, Acting Head of the Technology Transfer Office, NUI Galway. The judging panel was chaired by Declan Dooley, Managing Director of the Galway Independent.
Minister of State for Research & Innovation, Sean Sherlock TD, congratulated the work that Green Earth Organics are doing.
“Over the past few years they have developed a sustainable business with the potential to expand and create employment,” said Minster Sherlock.
“The SCCUL Enterprise Awards are an ideal platform to celebrate the achievements of our indigenous companies and it is vital that we acknowledge the commitment and vision of those working within our most innovative companies to generate significant sales, exports and employment. I want to congratulate all the winners and applicants to this year’s awards and encourage them to keep utilising that entrepreneurial spirit.”
Other prize winners included GIRT Mobile, who won the SCCUL Enterprise Business Services Award, Cloudbrook Water, who were the recipient of the SCCUL Enterprise Consumer Goods & Services Award for businesses established under three years, and Yourells, who were presented with the SCCUL Enterprise Consumer Goods & Services Award for companies over three years in business.
The SCCUL Enterprise Social Enterprises Award was won by Play Therapy and Cloud Dock were the recipients of the SCCUL Enterprise ICT Award. The SCCUL Enterprise Entertainment, Media & Leisure Award was won by Hill Walk Tours.
All category winners received a €1,000 cash prize, an advertising package worth €1,250 from media sponsor, the Galway Independent and a specially commissioned sculptor from Galway based sculptor Liam Butler.
Winners of the newly introduced Student Enterprise Award were four Co. Galway students who have developed a mobile phone app with the potential to save lives. By monitoring movement while driving, Road Buddy detects any sudden impact and the app will automatically send an SMS to the emergency services with the GPS co-ordinates of the phone for accurate location. The app is the brainchild of Gerard Nee, Alan O’ Connor, Paula Kelly and Aisling Kenny, who were inspired to come up with the idea after reading a newspaper article about a lady who died in a single vehicle accident.
The students, who are final year students in GMIT, plan to use their €1,250 prize fund to develop an iPhone version of the app in addition to the Android and Windows versions already developed.
Second prize of €500 in the Student Enterprise Award went to NUI Galway students, Enoch and Issac Burke for Mystudysheets.com, which provides third level mathematics study aids in an accessible format. Third prize of €250 was won by GMIT students, Barry Doyle and Shane Brennan, for their idea for a ‘Slide Loader’ to assist in feeding silage to cattle
Aimed at celebrating entrepreneurship and rewarding local enterprise, SCCUL awards are an initiative of SCCUL Enterprises Ltd aided by Ballybane Enterprise Centre, St Columba’s Credit Union and Galway City Council.
Congratulating all the award winners on their success, Padraig O’ Callaghan, Chairman of both St Columba’s Credit Union and SCCUL Enterprises said, “These awards are a really important opportunity to encourage businesses throughout Galway City & County and help them accelerate their plans. Fostering enterprise is critical to business growth and creating employment in our local area.”
“As a community based company set up in association with St Columba’s Credit Union, we want to support local community enterprise and encourage our local entrepreneurs.”
“These awards are a good news story, 204 local businesses entered the SCCUL Enterprise Awards and today twenty eight local businesses have had their enterprising initiatives recognised through these awards.”
Declan Dooley, Chairman of the Judging Panel, said the quality of this year’s entrants was extremely high, with each of them showing a commitment to making their businesses succeed through innovation and growth.
“Today’s awards have acknowledged the dedication, creativity, focus and success of the winning entrepreneurs and I congratulate them all.”
Runners up for the SCCUL Enterprise Awards, who each received a €500 cash prize and a €500 promotional package from the Galway Independent, included Ireland’s Raw Kitchen, Stocktaking.ie, Galway Natural Health Sales Company, Elysium, Pure Fit, English Bubble and The Mythic Fairy.
Special ‘One to Watch’ Commendations went to Bowl-a- Granola, Medialab Marketing Ltd, Embrace, Moycullen Woodworks, Frank Byrnes Auto Body Repairs, Murder on the Menu, Mission Possible and Coole Music & Arts, who each received an iPad mini.
Special merit prizes were presented to Killary Sheep Farm and Homegifts.ie, while Jigsaw Galway was the recipient of the Judges’ Special Recognition Award.
The judging panel to determine finalists and category winners comprised leading figures from the Galway business community including Adrian Bannon, Director of Global Engagement & Strategic Growth at BarBri International, Dublin; Ann Mallaghan, Community, Enterprise and Economic Development Office, Galway Co. Council; Anthony Ryan, Managing Director, Anthony Ryan’s Ltd; Austin Sammon, Sammon & Associates, Galway; Breda Fox, Chief Executive Officer, Galway City & County Enterprise Board; Brian Duffy, Tri Everest Wealth Management; Cait Noone, Head of College, Tourism & Arts Galway Mayo Institute of Technology; Colman Collins , Managing Director, Collins MacNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group; Colm Feeney Managing Director, SSL Logistics; Catherina Blewitt, West Regional Business & Relationship Manager, IDA Ireland; and Carmel Brennan, Head of Department of Accounting & Information Systems, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology.
The panel also included Declan Droney, Kinvara Smoked Salmon; Declan O’Connor, CEO & Director of Certification, BQAI; Donncha Hughes, Business Advisor & Trainer; Dr. Aidan Daly, Adjunct Professor of Marketing, National University of Ireland, Galway; Dr. Emer Mulligan, Head of J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway; Jim Murren, Business Consultant; John Daly, Ireland Food; Martina Von Richter Japy, Sustainable Values, Advisor Phitrust Partenaires, Board Member Dialogue Social Enterprise; Cllr. Michelle Murphy, Immediate Past President, Business & Professional Women, Galway; Myles McHugh, Professional Coach & Business Advisor; Niall O’Reilly, Ignite Coach; Philip Furlong. Deputy Manager, St. Columba’s Credit Union; Phyllis McNamara, Owner, Cobwebs; and Tom Joyce, Galway University Foundation, National University of Ireland, Galway.