The West Cork Business & Tourism Awards – an initiative designed to celebrate and recognise excellence in business and tourism across the region – is back for a second year. The awards scheme has been created by the Southern Star in partnership with Cork County Council and associate sponsor AIB Cork.
Speaking at the recent launch event in County Hall, Sean Mahon, managing director of The Southern Star said “Last year’s awards were a huge success with over 230 entries received from 128 organisations throughout West Cork. We always knew West Cork was home to many successful and innovative businesses yet even we were blown away by the fantastic quality of entries. The awards are our way of highlighting and celebrating the best in class activity that emanates from our region and we’re delighted to be able to do the same again this year.”
He thanked headline awards partner Cork County Council and associate sponsor AIB, as well as this year’s awards category sponsors Cork Airport, xSellco, Clonakilty Black Pudding, Dan Seaman Motors, Skibbereen & Bandon Credit Union, Fitzgerald & Partners, Blueprint Financial Planning, Collins Brooks & Associates, Bluehaven Hotel, Eli Lilly and Trigon Hotels for their support. For the second year, the luxurious Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa Hotel are the hotel partner for the awards and will host the gala black tie awards dinner in November.
The awards span eleven different categories including Best New Business, Best Artisan Food Producer, Most Innovative/Unique Business and Best Tourism Experience. New for this year is an award for West Cork Young Business Person of the Year, for those aged 18-30.
An overall West Cork Business of the Year 2019 will be chosen by the judges from all the individual category winners, which in 2018 was won by Rowa Pharmaceuticals and there will also be a special Award for ‘Outstanding West Cork Business Ambassador’ awarded to an individual who has made a significant contribution to business life in West Cork. This accolade went to Colette Twomey of Clonakilty Black Pudding last year.
For the shortlisted companies in each category, the process will once again include a three-minute pitch evening hosted by AIB in October, where companies get the chance to impress the judges face to face. All shortlisted companies will also be profiled in a special supplement inserted into The Southern Star in November plus receive publicity in the newspaper, online and across social media. The overall winners for each category will then be announced at a gala awards dinner in Inchydoney Lodge & Spa Hotel in November with one organisation winning the overall West Cork Business of the Year. New for this year will be the opportunity for this overall winner to go up against the equivalent winners from East Cork and North Cork for the coveted title of overall Cork County Business of the Year.
Due to the success of last year's West Cork Business & Tourism Awards, Southern Star Creative which is the Southern Star's marketing services and events department, have been awarded the contract by Cork County Council to run equivalent business and tourism awards for North Cork and East Cork respectively.