CIT and Cork Convention Bureau lauded as best businesses at annual CBA awards

Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and Cork Convention Bureau were the big winners at the Cork Business Association’s (CBA) Cork Business of the Year Awards, held at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday night, writes Pádraig Hoare.

The awards, run in partnership with JCD and The Irish Examiner, recognise the outstanding contribution of businesses and individuals working across varied sectors of business in Cork city and its environs.

CIT took home the prize for Large Business of the Year, with vice president of external affairs Orla Flynn saying: “It’s lovely to be recognised, we have so many hardworking staff out there who really care so much for the students they are working with.”

CIT won, according to the CBA, because of its economic benefits, as well as the “immense” social and cultural aspects it brings to the region.

Business tourism organisation Cork Convention Bureau won the Medium Business of the Year award, with executive chairman Seamus Heaney saying: “It is absolutely incredible.

“This couldn’t be done without the support of the City Council, County Council, the airport authority, the Irish Hotels Federation and all those ambassadors who went above and beyond their day job in bringing that business to Cork.”

Cork Convention Bureau has helped win €70m worth of business tourism for Cork in the past decade, hosting a wide range of events and conferences to bring thousands of delegates to Leeside.

A further eight awards were presented on the evening. Best Cork VFI Pub was The Oyster Tavern, while the Best Cork Family Business was O’Connor Brothers.

Best Cork Retail Business was Keanes Jewellers, with Cork International Choral Festival winning the Best in Tourism, Arts and Events.

Republic of Work won Best New Business, with Nash 19 being named Best Café or Restaurant.

The Montenotte Hotel was named as Best Hotel, while AM O’Sullivan PR was named Best Professional Services Business.

Chief executive of CBA, Lawrence Owens said: “This year we received a record number of entrants and I would like to congratulate each of our very deserving winners and finalists.

“To be finalists for these awards was, in itself, a wonderful achievement. I would like to sincerely thank all of our sponsors, in particular our award sponsor JCD, event partner AIB, and media partner the Irish Examiner.”

Cork Business Association president Pat O’Connell paid a moving tribute to the late James O’Sullivan and Owen O’Callaghan, saying the two men were among the “most influential and iconic figures” ever seen in the Cork business community, whose “energy, commitment and passion for this city was something to behold”.

He added: “Owen and James were people whom I and others in the CBA looked up to because of their inspiration, proven track record and can-do mentality.”

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