Offaly Sand Blasters Blow NEA Judges Away

10 Jun 2016 | 09.44 am

Offaly Sand Blasters Blow NEA Judges Away

Applied Concepts specialises in sand-blasting equipment

10 Jun 2016 | 09.44 am

Applied Concepts, an Offaly-based manufacturer of blast machines, clinched the overall prize in the National Enterprise Awards competition, the winners of which were announced last night.

Headquartered in Kinnitty and trading since 2010, Applied Concepts sells portable blasting machines, abrasive blast media, blasting safety equipment and accessories, which are primarily used by builders and restoration companies.

Applied Concepts picked up a cash prize of €10,000 for its first-place finish.

The company is owned by Mark Clendennen and has built up a robust exporting arm. It booked a profit of around €20,000 in 2014, closing the year out with a net deficit of €67,000. Applied Concepts employs ten staff.

With a total prize fund of €40,000 on offer through the Local Enterprise Offices, thirteen awards were presented in total and the other major category winners were CarveOn from Kildare (Best Exporter), Global Sauces from Limerick (Best Start-Up) and Invizbox from Fingal in Dublin (Innovation Award).

Leather Accessories

In Kildare, CarveOn was set up by two brothers, Alan and Gary McCormack, and its customised leather accessories are exported to 50 countries. Global Sauces in Limerick is headed up by Liam Hayes and Vincent Sheahan, and the company manufactures 34 different varieties of sauces for the food industry.

In Fingal, Invizbox was founded by Paul Canavan, Chris Monks and Elizabeth Canavan, and itsonline anonymising devices are used by customers in more than 60 countries.

Speaking at the awards, jobs minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “Small businesses, like finalists here tonight at the National Enterprise Awards, are the backbone of the Irish economy and I want to ensure that I can put in place the right conditions for more small businesses to grow.”

Kieran Comerford of the Local Enterprise Offices added: “Applied Concepts in Offaly has achieved impressive international growth since it started trading and has brought all manufacturing in-house, rather than outsourcing it abroad.

“For thousands of small companies like Applied Concepts, the Local Enterprise Offices … have become a first-stop shop for business and the National Enterprise Awards help to celebrate these companies’ achievements.”

Regional Awards

Eight new regional awards were introduced this year and these were presented to:

Dublin Region: Brian and Rachel Nolan, Nobó in Dublin City

Kildare/Laois/Offaly/Westmeath Region: Tom Davitt and Dr. Orla Dardis of Scantech Geoscience in Westmeath

Wicklow/Wexford/Carlow/Kilkenny Region: Diarmuid Byrne and Sam Watson of EquiRatings in Carlow

Louth/Cavan/Monaghan/Meath Region: Clinton Pratt, Ualto Ltd in Cavan

Donegal/Sligo/Leitrim/Longford Region: Detta and Aoife McNiffe, McNiffe’s Boxty in Leitrim

Galway/Mayo/Sligo Region: Donal Byrne, Big Red Barn Ltd in Mayo

Clare/Limerick/Kerry/Tipperary Region: Fionan Murphy, Murphy Marine Services in Kerry

Cork/Waterford Region: Clare Hughes, CF Pharma Ireland Ltd in Waterford

Meanwhile, the first-ever ‘Peer Award’ was presented to Darren Hayes from Dare Technology in Cork City and was judged by all 32 finalists.

Photo: Mark Clendennen of Applied Concepts, with jobs minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor (left) and Orla Martin, LEO Offaly (Pic: Joe Keogh)

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