Conservationist wins EUR12,700 in Coca-Cola enterprise award
Business awards play an important role in fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship in the Republic, said the Tánaiste, Ms Harney yesterday.Addressing the Coca-Cola national enterprise awards in Dublin, Ms Harney said such initiatives played "a unique role in nurturing the spirit of enterprise".
"It is vital that we continue through awards such as this, to foster and encourage enterprise and small business in Ireland," the Tánaiste said.
The award was won by Galway-based seahorse conservationist, Mr Kealan Doyle. His company, Seahorse Ireland, cultivates and sells seahorses to aquariums.
Second place was shared by Phorest Communications, developer of peer-to-peer software, and TechWorks Marine, which has developed a data acquisition and communication system for marine use. Both are based in Dublin.
The awards, said Ms Harney, "provide a valuable opportunity to all innovative graduates to acquire the theoretical and practical knowledge to produce an innovative business plan and eventually set up their own company".
Twenty-one entrants received tuition from Enterprise Ireland. Each had a higher level qualification and a business idea at concept or pre-feasibility stage.
It was impossible to overestimate the importance of expert advice to young entrepreneurs, said Mr Mark Ferguson, general manager of Coca-Cola commercial product supply in Ireland.
"Even the most brilliant idea must be well-rooted and worked upon systematically.
"We want to nurture new entrepreneurship and give them the tools to turn their flashes of inspiration into businesses that can take root and prosper."
The other three finalists were Glenfora Herbals (Tyrone), AGM Technologies (Derry) and Cellix (Dublin).
The winner received €12,700 from a prize fund of €25,000.