Kilkenny overall winner at National Enterprise Town Awards 2019

Kilkenny emerged victorious from close to 70 communities around Ireland and was last night (5 December) named the overall winner of the Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Town Awards 2019.

The winning town collected a cash prize worth €33,000.

In all, some 42 towns on the night at the Lyrath Estate in Kilkenny shared in the total prize fund of €193,000.

“Strong local economies are the backbone of the Irish economy”

Now in its fourth year, the Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Town Awards is a nationwide search to find Ireland’s most enterprising community.

“Supporting enterprise and the financial wellbeing of individuals, businesses and their wider communities is at the heart of everything we do,” said Bank of Ireland CEO Francesca McDonagh.

“Strong local economies are the backbone of the Irish economy and we’re proud to be able to recognise and support businesses and community groups working together to create jobs, drive growth and build thriving communities. I congratulate Kilkenny on their win and hope that all the nominated towns enjoy their success and continue to build on it into the future.”

The Rising Star Award went to Castlebar which collected a cash prize of €20,000. The Rising Star Award was introduced to the competition last year for towns or urban areas that have improved as a place to live, visit and invest. The runners-up in this category were Carlow town and Clones, which won €4,000 and €2,000 respectively.

Ballincollig in Cork City was the winner of the City Award and collected a cash prize of €10,000. Runners-up in the City category were the Victorian Quarter in Cork and Stoneybatter in Dublin which received €2,000 and €1,000 respectively.

Category award winners for enterprising towns with populations ranging from under 2,000 people to more than 12,000 people went to Adare, Cahir, Kinsale and Kilkenny, with each town collecting a cash prize worth €10,000.

Regional winners on the night included Rathcoole, Dundrum, Tallaght, Adare, Cahir, Kinsale, Ennis, Borris, Bagenalstown, Gorey, Kilkenny, Belmullet, Carndonagh, Tuam and Sligo, which each won cash prizes of €3,000.

Runners-up included Lucan village, Dun Laoghaire, The Copper Coast, Kenmare, Bantry, Nenagh, Rathdrum, Callan, Kells, Athlone, Maynooth, Dungloe, Virginia, Monaghan and Letterkenny.

Showcasing enterprise spirit

Mayo winners celebrate winning an award.

The jubilant Castlebar team celebrate their Rising Star win at the National Enterprise Town Awards 2019.

The annual Bank of Ireland Enterprise Town Awards brings business, community groups and local authorities together, in each town, to showcase the spirit of enterprise in their local area.

“All the towns nominated serve as an example of how an engaged, supportive and resilient enterprise community can create opportunities from challenges”

Since the inaugural awards in 2016, more than 100 towns, urban areas and villages across the country have shared €500,000 in funding to invest in their community.

The previous national winners were Letterkenny, Co. Donegal (2018), Tralee, Co. Kerry (2017), and Boyle, Co. Roscommon (2016). The competition provides a stage for local businesses, community groups and local authorities to show how they are working together to meet their own challenges and make their own opportunities.

This year 107 towns and villages from almost every county nationwide submitted entries.

A panel of judges visited all of the nominated towns between mid-August and early October. This gave them an opportunity to experience first-hand the collaboration and enterprise that exists in each community.

“The Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Town Awards are a great way to showcase and celebrate the spirit of enterprise in our towns and I’m delighted that the Local Enterprise Offices play an important role in supporting this initiative” said the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD.

“All the towns nominated serve as an example of how an engaged, supportive and resilient enterprise community can create opportunities from challenges and I congratulate Kilkenny and all the other deserving prize-winners on their achievement.”  

Pictured (at top): The victorious Kilkenny team on stage at the National Enterprise Town Awards 2019.

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 6 December, 2019