Carndonagh-based artist Sharon McDaid was the toast of the Donegal business community at the weekend when she claimed two top prizes at the hugely successful Local Enterprise Awards finals on Saturday night.
Sharon, who owns Silver Birch Gallery and Studio, not only won the Best Established Business category, she also took the coveted title of Overall Business of the Year for 2017.
She was joined on the winners’ podium on the night by Emmet Rushe of Rushe Fitness in Letterkenny who won the innovation award, while Thomas McLaughlin from Manorcunningham won the Best Start-Up Business award for his business Tádaias.
Guests at Saturday night’s awards – superbly hosted by television mentalist David Meade – were told that this year’s competition had been a particularly tough one for the judges.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise in Donegal, described the night as a celebration of small business in the county and stressed the fact that small businesses are the backbone of the county’s economy.
“We need businesses to have ambition and it is great to see these local businesses have the courage to put themselves out there by entering the awards. These are the people who have the ambition to drive on their business and those are the type of people we need in the county.
We have so many small businesses who are making a big difference and we need more of them, because when we do, then the Local Enterprise Office will be there to help in every way that we can.”
Those comments were echoed in an amazingly entertaining fashion by David Meade who stressed how much determination it had required for his business to get off the ground.
“Every time I went to the BBC with a new programme idea they said no, but I didn’t give up, I kept refining it and kept working on it until eventually I had something they wanted.”
He urged Donegal businesses to be brave, and to take risks because that’s the only way to move forward.