This is according to the Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food Simon Coveney who launched 18 Irish companies at the 14th Annual Genesis Enterprise Programme (GEP) awards and showcase at Cork Institute of Technology last night.
M Coveney said these are the businesses that will “shape our future” with the creation of “high-value enterprises and employment opportunities”.
“Initiative programmes such as Genesis Enterprise are key to supporting emerging businesses turn their initial idea into a viable reality with export potential,” he said.
The Genesis Enterprise Programme is a 12-month rapid incubation programme designed to support and develop entrepreneurs starting businesses in the south-west region.
During the last 12 years Genesis has supported almost 200 people and teams in starting their businesses.
This year the companies are operating in electronics, energy conservation, e-commerce, healthcare, software development, telecommunications and water monitoring.
The winner of the AIB Genesis emerging business of the year and a cheque for €2,500 was Gareth Cuddy, DirecteBooks, which is Ireland’s only dedicated eBook retailer.
The business development achievement award and €1,250 went to James Kennedy of UnifiedComputing, which simplifies the content creation process in the 3D animation industry.
The market entry success award went to DanielBradfield of AirDryer Systems and the business plan of the year was awarded to Seamus Kerrigan of SmartComm.
The award for opportunity investigation went to Pat O’Leary of Faaltech.
The adjudication panel included Kieran Moynihan, CIT entrepreneur in residence, Ian Venner, director with Ernst & Young, John O’Doherty, regional director with AIB, Conor Keane, business editor of the Irish Examiner, and Pat Ryan, a director with Abtran.
Genesis also presented the alumni award to Colum O’Sullivan and Cullen Allen of food company, Cully and Sully.
The 2011 Genesis Showcase and Awards are supported by Cork Institute of Technology, Enterprise Ireland, Cork County & City Enterprise Boards, AIB, Ernst & Young and Ronan Daly Jermyn. Media partner was Thomas Crosbie Holdings.
Applications for the new 2011/2012 Genesis Enterprise Programme, which commences in May, can be made online at www.gep.ie.