A look at some of the Cork Company of the Year Awards SME category finalists

In the second part of a four-part series looking at finalists for the Cork Company of the Year Awards 2018, Padraig Hoare casts an eye over those competing in the SME category.

World-class standards used in Atlantia Food Clinical Trials research

With a client base that already includes the world’s largest food companies, Atlantia Food Clinical Trials is well on its way to realising its desire vision to become a world leader in its field.

That means becoming a world leader in food clinical research services, and enabling the advancement of functional foods and ingredients in the treatment and prevention of human health issues.

In lay terms, Atlantia examines important nutritional conundrums, such as how the world’s largest food companies can state that their dairy products can lower cholesterol levels, how certain yoghurts can help in weight loss, or how fish protein supplements can reduce aching joints.

Put simply, Atlantia explores whether or not claims made by companies regarding the health benefits of foodstuffs or health supplements are accurate.

The Blackpool-based firm’s expert and committed clinical research teams design and conduct ground-breaking commercial research programmes, with the support of a highly engaged pool of food study volunteers.

Investigations centre on natural food extracts, derivatives and probiotics, generating analytics to influence the future of food development, it says.

It is no exaggeration to suggest Atlantia has set the highest scientific standards since it was 2012, when it became commercially independent, having outgrown its UCC base.

Study participants come from all walks of life with varying levels of fitness and health, according to Atlantia.

It typically conducts research in gastrointestinal, mental and cognitive, cardiovascular, healthy aging, nutritional, immune and inflammatory health areas as well as sports performance.

It works with scientists at centres such as APC Microbiome Institute at University College Cork, Teagasc Moorepark, Cork University Hospital, Mallow Primary Healthcare Centre and numerous healthcare facilities.

A current study will establish the impact of a fruit extract on alleviating pain symptoms in the knees.

Chief executive of Atlantia Food Clinical Trials, Andrea Doolan said being nominated as a finalist in the SME category of the Cork Chamber Company of the Year Awards has inspired the firm to set standards in 2018 even higher than the excellence reached in recent years.

“We are truly delighted and honoured to be a finalist in the SME category. This whole process has been thrilling for us,” she said.

“Thinking about our business, presenting to the judging panel on our key milestones, providing recognition to our tremendous team, our wonderful study participants, partner institutions and clients has just put more fire in our bellies to keep driving our strategic growth, both at home here in Cork and overseas in 2018.”

Glenilen Farm’s pure goodness reputation continues to spread

If proof was ever needed that indigenous Cork business produces some of the most delicious foods in the world, all you have to do is sample Glenilen Farm’s natural farmhouse goodies.

Glenilen Farm is owned and run by farmers Alan and Valerie Kingston. Producing a range of natural farmhouse yoghurts, butter and desserts, the Glenilen Farm brand truly epitomises simple and authentic Irish food.

The farm celebrates its 20th year in business this year having started out selling home-made yoghurt and cheesecakes in Skibbereen Farmers’ market two decades ago.

Based in Drimoleague, West Cork, Glenilen Farm now employs 40 people and is available across Ireland, as well as in Waitrose and Sainsbury’s in the UK.

Mr Kingston’s family has been tending the same small dairy farm for generations, resting on the banks of the River Ilen. The hills of Drimoleague were a perfect location for milking cows, with a rich and plentiful supply of nutritious grass.

Mrs Kingston began using this milk to make homemade cheesecakes for the local country market in 1997, quickly gaining popularity. From that small beginning Glenilen Farm began.

All the milk used in the produce is sourced from Glenilen and neighbouring farms, while its products contain no artificial additives or preservatives.

Last year was a big one internationally for Glenilen Farm with major UK supermarkets vying for the West Cork goodness that already has food lovers drooling all over Ireland.

In May, it secured a new listing with Sainsbury’s for a range of three of its fruit-layered natural yoghurt 500g pots. The raspberry, blueberry and mango and passionfruit yoghurts are available in 150 stores across the UK and the North, a big step in Glenilen’s ambition to significantly grow the brand in the increasingly important market.

There was also the launch of its Thick and Fruity range, with strawberry, apple and blackberry, and a thick and creamy vanilla winning over a whole new cohort of fans.

To be nominated in the SME category of the Cork Chamber Company of the Year Awards is fitting recognition for West Cork’s celebrated food producing industry, said Mr Kingston.

“We are delighted and honoured to have been chosen as a finalist in the SME Category of Cork Chamber’s Cork Company of the Year 2018.

“We are a proud Cork company providing employment in the small village of Drimoleague in West Cork. It means a lot to us and our team to be recognised in this category, highlighting the importance of creating local employment.

“We produce a range of natural farmhouse products on our farm and love the idea of building the Glenilen Farm and Cork brand while doing so,” he said.

Spearline’s global reach from Skibb to Silicon Valley and Seattle

How long Spearline can stay in the SME category in the Cork Chamber Company of the Year Awards is open to conjecture, such is the world-class reputation it has continued to build in the past year.

Just ask the likes of Google, Microsoft or Amazon, which Spearline has in its client list — this Skibbereen firm is one of the great Irish success stories of the past decade.

Founded in 2003 by university friends Kevin Buckley and Matthew Lawlor, Spearline Labs has become a global leader in toll and toll-free number testing — cementing Skibbereen’s burgeoning reputation as an IT centre par excellence across the world.

What is being done in the West Cork town is remarkable, even by the estimable standards of Irish IT.

Spearline provides the world’s only automated monitoring platform which allows enterprise clients to proactively benchmark, monitor and troubleshoot their global telecoms footprint.

It specialises in testing global toll and toll-free numbers using in-country calls and measuring the audio quality and connectivity of those calls.

The tests are carried out through the Spearline Platform and a worldwide network of servers and carriers.

Spearline provides a full range of end-to-end testing solutions for large enterprise clients including manual, automated and hybrid IVR testing.

In other words, Spearline — whose infrastructure currently covers over 60 countries and counting — enables enterprises to replicate their customer’s experience and analyse key performance metrics such as connectivity, audio quality and caller ID.

Spearline employs 50 people in offices in Skibbereen, Kilkenny, Romania and India with clients including Silicon Valley and Seattle, Washington giants of Google, Airbnb, Skype, Microsoft and Amazon.

Last year was one of its best yet, with 2018 and beyond set to get even better, according to chief executive Kevin Buckley.

In a sign of its remarkable rise and consistent excellence of execution, Spearline once more beat the stiffest of competition to be nominated again in 2018 in Cork Chamber’s SME category for the Company of the Year Awards, after also being a finalist in 2017.

Mr Buckley said: “2017 was an incredible year of growth for Spearline and we are thrilled to see our hard work acknowledged by the local business community in Cork.”

Winning at the Cork Chamber Company of the Year Awards would be the icing on the sweetest cake for Spearline.

It was recently included in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 where they were ranked in the top 20 of the 50 fastest growing technology companies in Ireland.

It also won the Technology Innovation of the Year Award at Technology Ireland’s Software Industry Awards.

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