Carlow Chamber’s Business Awards are now open for nominations.

Nominations are open until August 15th 2022.

The awards are open to businesses based in County Carlow and are free to enter.

This year’s categories are:

1. Community Award
This award is designed to recognise and celebrate the success of Community and Voluntary enterprises in County Carlow. Nominees will be organisations who have made a significant, sustained contribution to their community. Often working behind the scenes, these organisations provide their time and efforts to help their fellow citizens.

2. Business Supporting Community Award
This award is designed to recognise and highlight the input of Businesses in supporting Community. The Judges will be looking for evidence of significant, contribution to their community and the impacts of these.

3. Food and Beverage Producers Award
This award recognises the importance of the Irish food business and the top performing businesses within this dynamic and innovative sector. Judges will be looking for superior quality and excellence from local food and beverage producers/manufacturers.
Nominees will demonstrate excellence and innovation in production and management processes.

4. Best Dining Experience
We have seen a lot of new and innovative ways to ensure people can experience dining in a unique and very different way, however at the heart of if all some of the key ingredients include good value, good service, cleanliness, quality food and drink and environment. This award is designed to highlight some of those and recognise the creativity, quality and experience that is delivered.

5. Best Presented Shopfront/Premises
This award aims to create an awareness of the positive impression a well-presented shop front can create within the local community and to visitors alike especially when it is clean, tidy and well maintained. The Award will be judged in line with the following criteria; well-presented window display, design consideration of signage and associated frontage (signs should be simple and easy to understand, look attractive and made from durable, high quality materials), entrance – inviting, clean & attractive, overall Maintenance of the Shop Front including, appropriateness of the shop front to the building or type of business.
This will be awarded in three areas as follows: Carlow Town, Muine Bheag/South Carlow, Tullow/North Carlow

6. Spirit of Carlow Award
This Award gives recognition to those whose good deeds may have gone unnoticed. This is a non-business category. Judges are looking for those individuals and/or organisations who selflessly serve others and are an inspiration to us all.

7. Customer Service Award
This award recognises the importance of excellence in customer service among companies committed to offering the highest values of customer care. Nominees will need to demonstrate how they consistently go the extra mile for their customers and the impact this has had on their business.

8. Professional Services Award
The award recognises excellence in customer service and commitment to developing sustainable business practices. Nominees will come from professions such as estate agents, architects, insurance companies, travel agents, solicitors, dental and medical providers, accountants, banks and financial advisers.

9. Emerging Business
Open to all new and emerging non-retail businesses in Carlow who have been established within the previous 3 years. The winner will have displayed a strategic approach to business, successful implementation and will have good prospects for the future.

10. Research Innovation and Technology Award
The judges will assess nominees for evidence of how through research and development companies have developed or utilised innovative technologies (hardware or software) representing progressive developments for competitive advantage.

11. Sustainable Initiatives
This award is designed to recognise products, processes, or policies that support a greener, more sustainable environment. Nominees can be from both business and community and must be able to demonstrate actions and results to date along with future plans.

12. Ambassador of the Year (This Category is not open to Public Nomination)
The winner will be the individual/business who has come to be clearly identified on a national scale as part of Brand Carlow. This award is open to all who have put the Carlow name out there in national media during the year.

13. Best Online Presence
With the increased move to online across a wide range of sectors, the judges are looking for a bespoke online presence that delivers in a range of ways. Website Purpose, User Experience, Optimisation, impact on the business and connection to other communication channels, in particular social media, to drive (1) brand awareness and (2) sales and/or key messaging.

14. Licensed Premises
Open to local pubs and hotels within the County. Judges are looking for premises that offer a comfortable environment suitable to their target market clientele.
Nominees will be assessed on customer service, ambience, cleanliness. hygiene and exterior & interior décor.

15. Exporter of the Year
This award is open to all businesses that export product or services. Judges will be looking at exporters who can demonstrate success in securing and building new export markets and who have developed a strategic export plan.

16. Retailer of the Year
This category is open to all Co. Carlow business operating in retailing (offline and/or online) who will have shown a commitment to offering the highest levels of service to each and every customer. Evaluation will consider customer service; retail experience, shop layout, accessibility and offering, creativity in merchandising.

17. Craft & Design Award
Irish Craft is something to be proud of and this category is open to all in this important creative sector. In addition to demonstrating customer satisfaction, applicants in this category will also be able to demonstrate how they/their business works to develop a greater understanding of the needs and wants of the customer markets they serve and wish to access, and how they marry this with their creative skills along with their personal Irish and international design influences to continually innovate their creations/products to grow their business.

18. Family Business of the Year
The family business truly is the backbone of the Irish economy, from small home-grown businesses to established and international family run businesses. Nominees should tell the story of their Family Business and the industry they operate in, demonstrating the uniqueness of brand or quality in products, services and delivery mechanisms. The judges are looking for details on the family members that work in the business and how it is structured in terms of responsibilities, decision making and co-operation; and an understanding of how being family owned helps with the success of your business.

19. Culture Heritage & Tourism
This category is open to all heritage and cultural attractions, activities, festivals and events which can demonstrate excellence in their business practices, business performance and success. In addition to demonstrating customer satisfaction, applicants will also be able to demonstrate how they work to develop a greater understanding of the needs of tourists and visitors and how this knowledge influences the delivery of their visitor experience. Where relevant, they should be able to demonstrate ways in which they are ‘adding’ additional revenue streams/potential to grow the business to ensure greater sustainability into the future.

20. Lifetime Achievement Award (This Category is not open to Public Nomination)
This Award will be presented to a pillar of the Carlow business community, a person who has led and inspired others, a person who has spent a lifetime in business – in good times and bad. The Lifetime Achievement recipient will have had a key impact in his/her sector, will have been the key driving force in that business and will have shown outstanding leadership qualities, developed and achieved clear business goals during their business life.
Their work will have made a significant difference in their community and sector; their commitment will have been more than simply doing a job. They will have gone above and beyond what was expected of them.

21. Outstanding Small Business of the Year
The Outstanding Small Business Award recognizes those businesses employing fewer than 20 people on a full-time basis, who have made a long-standing contribution to the community. Nominees will be able to demonstrate success in company growth and they will also illustrate their commitment to research and the development of advances in the company’s industry sector. Consideration is also paid to their vision for sustainable growth, innovative and their impact on the wider community.

22. Business of the Year
The Outstanding Business Award recognizes businesses for noteworthy accomplishments, long-standing contribution to the community, and significant community service efforts. The nominees will have made a major or visible contribution in the past year that reflects sustainable growth, innovation, creativity and has a continuing positive impact on the community.