A KILMALLOCK Road-based engineering firm has won the top prize at the annual Limerick Enterprise Awards.
Unison Engineering Services, which supplies the dairy, food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries in Ireland, will represent Limerick at the national final of the enterprise awards which take place in Dublin in May.
Employing nine people, Unison Engineering Services was established by Paul Sheehan in 2006. It offers integrated solutions for maintenance and repair.
Staff there have also designed and manufactured a range of products which have had interest from markets as diverse as Uruguay, Australia and the USA.
One of these products, a miniature pasteuriser which allows flash pasteurisation, is one of the things which he feels helped Unison secure the top prize.
“I think we hit on a new niche product. We demonstrated to a few shows around the world, and the response we have received has been fantastic,” he said.
Paul admitted he was a little taken aback by the success at the Local Enterprise Office-backed awards, where his company was also took the best manufacturing prize at the luncheon event in the Strand Hotel this Monday.
There were also awards for Key Ingredients, a firm set up by five ex-employees of Kerry Ingredients who were made redundant when the National Rusk factory closed on the Dock Road.
They won the prize for best new start-up.
Electricity Exchange, a virtual power plant based at the Castletroy Commercial Campus was named the business with the best development potential.
And there were also prizes for Fusion Magazine and designer Aisling Maher.
The chief executive of the Limerick Enterprise Office (LEO) Eamon Ryan was impressed with the standard of entries this year.
He said it shows the work of the LEO in helping local companies is paying off.
“LEO, through its programme of support puts micro and small business at the heart of job creation locally.
“Part of this process is to provide local entrepreneurs with a platform to showcase their business ideas to a wider audience.
“In doing so, LEO Limerick is contributing to the successes of our smaller indigenous businesses, both new and existing, which are central to the future economic development of this region.”
Cllr Maria Byrne, one of the few ratepayers on the council presented business owners with their prizes.
She said: “Some might say the present economic climate might not be conducive to starting or growing a business, but our businessmen and women are disproving such a notion.”