Minister announces Local Enterprise Showcase Awards for emerging Irish design businesses

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Mary Mitchell O’ Connor T.D., has announced details of the “Local Enterprise Showcase Awards”. The awards are run by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) and open to their local craft and design businesses taking part in Showcase - Ireland’s International Creative Expo, which is being held in the RDS, Dublin from January 22nd to 25th 2017.

The new awards will recognise excellence and innovation amongst the 112 talented LEO supported craft makers and designers taking part. “Local Enterprise Showcase” this year replaces the Enterprise Zone as the destination for LEO-supported companies and the number of exhibitors in this area has jumped from 97 in 2016 to 112 in 2017.

Showcase, one of Ireland’s largest international trade shows, is organised by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor welcomed the introduction of the awards to mark emerging craft and design talent. The awards carry a first prize of a week’s product display in the Kilkenny Shop on Nassau Street, Dublin, and an opportunity to pitch their product to Kilkenny Shop buyers.

Speaking at the launch of the awards, Minister Mitchell O’Connor, said: “Ireland has a wealth of design talent and I am very encouraged that the number of emerging craft and design companies being supported by the Local Enterprise Offices at Showcase has increased this year. The LEOs have been a huge support for start-ups and small businesses in the blossoming design and craft sector. Supporting this creative sector will enable further job creation right across the country and I am delighted that these awards will recognise our incredible talent.”

“There is a strong appetite internationally for the work of Irish designers and makers, and the Local Enterprise Showcase is a great opportunity for craft makers to grow and develop. Our design and craft sector is contributing to jobs, exports, and tourism and Showcase plays a crucial role in helping put Irish companies on the international design map.”

Minister Mitchell O’Connor met five of the LEO-supported businesses taking part in Local Enterprise Showcase at the announcement of the awards at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in Dublin.

In attendance was Kieran Comerford on behalf of the LEOs, the Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Karen Hennessy and Gerry Murphy of Showcase Ireland Events Ltd. The exhibitors present were:

  • Fragrance designer Joanne Browne, of Jo Browne Natural Solid Perfume from Carlow, who will be exhibiting her new Solid Perfume and Solid Cologne ranges at Showcase.
  • Photographer Stewart Duffy, of Stewart Duffy Photography in Fingal, Co. Dublin, who will be exhibiting his striking images of Ireland’s natural land and seascapes. 
  • Soap-maker Lucinda Layton, of Rose & Alice Handcrafted Soaps and Gifts from Co. Laois, who will be introducing a selection of men’s products and an expanded range of bath bombs and aromatherapy products at Showcase.
  • Eoin Shanley, of Copper Fish Studio in Wicklow, who will be showcasing functional art using natural and upcycled materials including wood and copper. 
  • Magdalena Dubaj, of Rainbow Stained Glass in Mayo, who will be exhibiting a large selection of handcrafted stained glass ornaments made using the copper foil technique.

Showcase LEOs

Kieran Comerford of the Local Enterprise Offices, said: “We want the Local Enterprise Showcase to become the new destination for buyers to discover design and craft talent at Showcase 2017. Many of the 112 small businesses taking part in the Local Enterprise Showcase are new start-ups or first-time exhibitors. Their presence will give them a unique opportunity to secure substantial international orders and therefore grow their export markets and their job creation prospects.”

He added: “Showcase is an ideal marketplace where buyers from around the world can meet Irish designers in person. Our support for companies to be at the creative expo is part of year-round supports offered from LEOs in local authorities to designers and craftspeople which also include financial, mentoring, business advice clinics and training programmes.”

The Local Enterprise Showcase is located along the Balcony Area of the RDS Main Hall at Showcase , which is open to trade buyers from Sunday, January 22nd to Wednesday, January 25th 2017.