Nominations are now open for the seventh annual Cavan Business and Tourism Awards across 12 categories. The 2018 awards were launched last Thursday at the Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell, who have once again come on board as host sponsors of the gala event.
The awards seek to celebrate Cavan’s entrepreneurial spirit and recognise businesses and business people who are striving for excellence and demonstrating real innovation and grit, particularly in tough economic conditions.
The Anglo-Celt’s advertising sales manager Yvonne Jackson feels that the awards are a way of giving something back to the business community locally as many businesses advertise with the newspaper, though she emphasises that nominations are open to ALL businesses, big and small, across a broad spectrum of sectors. “Over the years we have had different winners from global players like Lakeland Dairies to the Virginia Show Committee, which has boosted tourism in east Cavan over the years. Last year’s overall winner was celebrity chef Neven Maguire from Blacklion,” she highlighted of the diversity of businesses and categories.
“All our past nominees, category winners and overall winners, however, have one quality at the heart of their ethos - commitment to quality,” added Ms Jackson.
Submitting a nomination is free of charge, with entrants then whittled down to just three companies shortlisted in each category. Making the final cut is an acknowledgement of business prowess, and each finalist receives a framed certificate and two free tickets to the gala awards night.
Celt editor Linda O’Reilly is also urging businesses to get involved as it is a means of raising their profile. “In the weeks leading up to the gala awards night, we will profile in our newspaper all those businesses shortlisted in the various categories,” she said.
Business Award categories include: Best New Business; Most Innovative Business; Best in Customer Service; Professional Services Gold Award; Gold Award Food Sector; Best in Style & Beauty; Best in Social Media; Best in Retail; Sales/Customer Service Person of the Year; Tourism - Gold Award; Community Spirit Award [Non Profit]; International Personality of the Year.
Businesses and groups can enter no more than two categories. Three entrants will be shortlisted from each category to go through to final judging. The independent judging panel’s decision is final. The overall winner is chosen from each of the category winners.
For the first year, a new ‘Professional Services Gold Award’ has been introduced following feedback from the business community. Ms Jackson explained: “This is directed at professionals such as solicitors, accountants, opticians, dentists etc who previously may have felt that they did not fall within the other categories. They too, in their respective businesses and practices, have displayed great innovation and customer service and are deserving of recognition.”
Ms O’Reilly is encouraging community organisations and groups to consider entering the ‘Community Spirit Award’ category. “This is a not-for-profit category. Many community groups or organisations don’t consider the business awards as being applicable to them. We have specifically included a category for this sector. Community groups and organisations contribute in a significant way to their local economies. For example, Tidy Towns Groups keep towns and villages looking their best, which feeds into returning visitors and tourism. A local GAA club or festival committee that stages a big event also delivers a big spin-off for the local community with pubs, hotels, B&Bs, shops, bus companies, taxi drivers etc all benefitting. The Virginia Show Committee some years ago not only won this category but went on to take the overall award that year so voluntary groups should enter.”
Last year, a visibly emotional Neven Maguire topped the Gold Award Food Sector, before being announced as the overall winner. Addressing the gathering, the internationally renowned chef said: “It’s a privilege for me. To sit down among friends, reminisce and speak about the past. It all comes flooding back, what a special place it is. It’s difficult to communicate. And my customers travel from all over and they always say how welcoming and friendly people are in this county.”
Having thanked his staff and family and stating several times how much he loves his job, Neven addressed the crowd: “It’s all about you guys and I’m very, very proud and I love Cavan.”
The closing date for entries is September 3. You can enter via post or online at www.anglocelt.ie/businessawards
This year’s gala awards night will take place in the Slieve Russell on October 19 with Newstalk business editor Vincent Wall returning as MC.