On Saturday myself and my partner, Paddy, packed our bags and headed for Cork where Sex Siopa was in the finals for the Small/Medium Enterprise Awards, and I'm so excited to let you all know that we won Best Online Retailer for the Irish Market! I'm absolutely over the moon as this is the 2nd year in a row that Sex Siopa has won. I put so much hard work into building Sex Siopa and making it the most trusted place to buy sex toys in Ireland, so it's best feeling in the world to be recognised for that effort.
However I'd love to use this opportunity to highlight a few of the other fabulous small businesses who won on the night, because I was blown away by how talented and sound they all were and I'd love to recommend them!
The Irish Biltong company, winners of Best Family Run Business, make high protein, low fat beef snacks from their own cattle in Co. Kildare. They're especially popular amongst sports teams and athletes. John and Noreen Doyle both come from farming backgrounds and supply their products to butchers and Supervalu's across the country!
Axis Ballymun are an Arts and Community Centre in the heart of Ballymun. You may have seen some of their excellent work with the Dublin Theatre Festival! Along with all their theatrey stuff, they also have a massive dance studio, an art room that runs classes and hosts a local printing group, and rehearsal space for musicians. Axis Ballymun is a vital resource for the Northside community, and I'm delighted they won the Award for Most Community Minded Business.
(Myself and Blaise battling it out to see who can blow up an inflatable banana the fastest)
Blaise Harvey of Cycle Inishowen took home the prize for Most Environmentally Minded Business, and it's not hard to see why. Cycle Inishowen have been committed to going the extra mile (forgive the pun) to make sure that every aspect of their business practices are as eco-friendly as possible. They only use biodegradable cleaning products and energy from renewable resources. They also donate their bikes to charity at the end of their life, so they don't end up in a landfill. And just in case you thought you couldn't love them anymore, to date they've donated over 200 native trees to Tidy Towns Associations around their local area!
(Getting photo bombed by Justin's mother!)
This is a wonderful success story for the town of Dingle. Two brilliant family owned businesses just a few doors down from each other took home awards on the night: Bean in Dingle, whose obsession with quality coffee led owner Justin to win Best Under 30's after just 9 months in business; and Dingle Crystal, winner of Best Online Retailer for Export, who not only have a former Waterford Crystal master craftsman at the helm, but also give tours and demonstrations. Both are doing Dingle proud!
For a full list of winners and finalists, please take a look at SMEawards.ie.