Mark Maher and Ciaran Cooke, Odyssey Studios pictured at the Limerick Strand Hotel following the Limerick Local final of the National Enterprise awards | PICTURE: Paul Mullins
ONE of Limerick’s most impressive businesses, Odyssey Studios, has been announced as a finalist in this year’s National Enterprise Awards.
The awards, an initiative of the Local Enterprise Office, will take place virtually on February 11.
Odyssey Studios, which was set up in 2017, will compete against 29 other national finalists for a prize fund totaling €50,000.
The state of the art model making studio based on the Dock Road and is one of the largest permanent model making studios in Europe.
The studio supplies blockbuster film and TV productions with miniature models, weapons, armour, props and prosthetic makeup and the teams have worked on films such as The Hobbit, Penny Dreadful and Into the Badlands.
Odyssey’s next generation facility houses the latest in design and production technology for laser cutting and 3D scanning, modeling and printing and this all‐encompassing approach makes it a one stop shop for productions and individual artists from the concept stage, through to the finished article.
The company is currently expanding into exhibition fit-out and design and specialist training to meet the growing demands of the industry.
Like many others, the film industry came to a halt during the first lockdown last March. Odyssey Studios, which was affected by the restrictions retained four employees, under the Wage Subsidy Scheme, while four others were temporarily laid off.
Odyssey, which operated on a reduced capacity in three remote locations for several months, is now back in full production and has increased its workforce to 10 full time employees having achieved strong turnover and increase in sales in final quarter of 2020.
During the lockdown period, Odyssey Studios produced PPE for frontline staff on a pro bono basis, fulfilling their corporate social responsibility mandate.
Also during the lockdown period, availing of time arising from the reduced activity, Odyssey management focused on developing a future growth strategy, and successfully applied for an SBCI Future Growth loan, as well as an additional LEO business expansion grant.
This funding enabled Odyssey Studios to realise its future growth strategy, including expanding its 3D printing and laser printing capacity and developing an area in the Studios to house the Odyssey Training Academy.
The company has identified increasing its reach in the International Film production market, working with artists to realise large scale public art projects, offering its expertise to the heritage exhibition sector and the development of the Training Academy as the main engines of future growth.
Now in their 22nd year, the National Enterprise Awards celebrate small businesses and includes awards that recognise excellence in exporting, sustainability and innovation along with 8 regional awards and an overall National Enterprise Awards winner.
This year also sees the addition of two new award categories that reflect the challenging business conditions that companies have faced in 2020. The Pivot Award will be presented to a company who has successfully pivoted their business in the face of challenging conditions in the last 12 months. The Brexit Ready Award will be presented to a company who have excelled in their preparation for Brexit particularly where it would have created specific challenges for them as a business.
Commenting ahead of the awards, Head of Enterprise at LEO Limerick, Mike Cantwell, said: "It has been a challenging year for small businesses so this is a chance to highlight positive stories and businesses that have excelled in the face of unprecedented challenges. These businesses have been through a judging process which looked at every aspect of their business and this in itself can be a huge benefit to them as they plan for the future. Whether they win or not, these finalists’ achievements deserve to be recognised and celebrated and the Local Enterprise Offices look forward to continuing to support them to help them grow and achieve their potential."
Vincent Murray, Director of Economic Development at Limerick City and County Council added: “We are delighted to see such a dynamic company representing Limerick at a national level. Limerick City and County Council is constantly working to develop economic opportunities in the film industry and skills and facilities available at Odyssey Studios is an important resource to attract film makers locally as well as exporting to the international market. Odyssey represents how traditional artistic skills can be combined with cutting edge technology demonstrating the creativity and innovation that is driving economic growth in Limerick.”
Minister for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English said: "Through the National Enterprise Awards we celebrate the very best in small local companies who are leading in their field of business expertise. Over the past 20 years the awards have been the benchmark for excellence in micro-enterprise across the country. Looking at the list of winners, finalists and participants through the years it is easy to be inspired by our talented businesses and people who are the backbone of outstanding Irish entrepreneurs, many of whom are trading successfully across the globe. This year’s finalists are no different with some exceptional companies shortlisted. The very best of luck to all finalists and no doubt they will continue to grow beyond this and become part of Ireland’s growing international business community.