Dublin National Enterprise winners

by Alison O'Hanlon
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The Black Stuff who are supported by Local Enterprise Office Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, were winners at this year’s National Enterprise Awards. The awards, which took place at the Round Room in the Mansion House in Dublin, are in their 24th year and run annually by the Local Enterprise Offices.

The Black Stuff took home the Best Start Up award.

They manufacture a range of handmade natural soaps and deodorants from their workshop in Sandyford and sell online direct to customers around the world. Starting in the founders’ kitchen, they now have a team of 10 making 10k soaps a week and have utilised social media to create one of the fastest growing mens care brands in the country.

The Black Stuff have been supported by LEO DLR for team growth, Lean and Green for business to support their early development.

Lisa Brown, Senior Enterprise Development Officer, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown said, “We always saw strong potential in The Black Stuff, their growth strategy and dedication has been instrumental to the success of this exciting Start Up.”

Aidan Blighe, Director of Planning and Ecenomic Development, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, added, “We are delighted to have won this award, it’s a testament to the hard work of The Black Stuff and the support of LEO team in DLR.”

John Larkin, The Black Stuff commented, “Winning the Best Startup Award is another proud moment for us at The Black Stuff. It’s a great vindication for our team and hard work as our company expands.”

The overall winner at the National Enterprise Awards was Dreamdev Technologies who are supported by Local Enterprise Office Kildare. DreamDev was set up by Eoin Barry and Douglas Augiar in 2019 with the aim of utilising online tools and software to enable faster digitalisation for companies. Their flagship product, ‘the dot-star enterprise’ software platform enables software engineering teams to create their own bespoke software programmes which deliver results with significantly reduced resourcing requirements. 

Announcing the award winners at the Mansion House and after earlier launching the new Local Enterprise Office Policy Statement, Peter Burke TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment said, “The National Enterprise Awards are the highlight of the small business and enterprise calendar.  Year on year the diversity of businesses and the standard of companies that are coming through the process is getting stronger.  We should not be surprised given the innovation and endurance that businesses have shown in recent years.  We have some outstanding winners but the finalists on the whole have been excellent, and this is very much the start of their journey.

“The new Local Enterprise Office Policy Statement I announced today sets out the vital role that LEOs have in fostering entrepreneurship and helping small businesses thrive every day across the country. The Policy Statement charts a clear roadmap of how LEOs will align their work with the priorities of the White Paper on Enterprise and ensure that their high-calibre offering continues into the future. I pay tribute to the great work of the current and former staff of the LEOs who, over the last 10 years, have helped and guided small businesses in Ireland which are at the heart of every town, village and community and are vital to our economy.”

Several other companies won across a range of categories at the Awards, which were established by the Local Enterprise Offices to celebrate the impact and quality of small businesses across the country.

Drink Botanicals took home the ‘One to Watch’ Award.  The drinks company, supported by Local Enterprise Office Dublin City, have created a suite of products such as natural based syrups, cocktail ancilliaries and dried garnishes that are being sold directly into over 200 bars, resturants and off licences. 

This year’s winners share a €50,000 investment fund and eight regional winners were also announced on the night.  

The National Enterprise Awards are one of several initiatives that the Local Enterprise Offices run, to foster entrepreneurship across the country.

Established in 2014, the Local Enterprise Offices are the essential resource for any entrepreneur looking to start a business or any small business that is looking for support or advice to help them grow.

Since their inception eight years ago, the Local Enterprise Offices have helped create over 70,000 jobs across the country.

The LEOs work with thousands of client companies across Ireland in a diverse range of sectors offering mentoring, training, expert advice and financial supports to small businesses.

Picture Conor McCabe Photography

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