In association with Shannon Airport
Éacht thar na Bearta
In association with Shannon Airport, the Galway Chamber Business Awards and Gala Ball 2017 was hosted by President Maurice O’Gorman on Friday November 10 in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Galway.
The Overall Winner
On the night, the overall Winner of the Galway Chamber Business of the Year Award 2017 in association with Shannon Airport was presented to Boston Scientific who were also Category Winners in the Best Social Enterprise/CSR Category.
Boston Scientific Galway has a Corporate Social Responsibility Programme divided into four strands: Charity, Health, STEM Promotion and Community Outreach.
Since 2005 they have raised over €2.5 million for charities locally via the Charity of the Year Programme as well as payroll donations to Cancer Care West and the Galway Hospice. On 31st October “The Boston Wing” at the Western Alzheimers facility in Maryfield, Athenry was opened. Employees at Boston Scientific raised €230,000 over a 2-year period towards the building of this unit.
In the Health stream, the company’s partnership with the Irish Heart Foundation began in 2012. As well as promoting the health and wellbeing of employees onsite, it provides community health checks, local group walks and sponsorship of Sli na Slainte routes.
The promotion of STEM to local students and schools is a natural fit for Boston Scientific who partner with SciFest every year to encourage students in science and sponsors the Award for Best Medical Devices at the National level. Two bursaries are awarded on a yearly basis to local students undertaking STEM courses of study at third level.
The President’s Address
In a wide-ranging address to the attendees, Chamber President Maurice O’Gorman said that the awards show that the spirit of enterprise has never been as evident as it currently is in Galway.
The President began by thanking our main sponsors Shannon Airport represented here tonight by Shannon Group CEO, Matthew Thomas, and all the individual award sponsors, GTC/Westbic, VHI, AIB, Galway City Council, Bank of Ireland, PwC, Magnet Networks and our media sponsor, the Galway City Tribune.
He said that Galway truly is a great place.
‘It is a place of outstanding achievement in sports, culture and arts. It is a place of diversity, gastronomical delights and welcoming friendly pubs. Of clinicians and academics. Of talented and skilled people and places of higher learning. A place of creators, innovators and entrepreneurs,’
He reiterated that Galway is a place of ambition.
‘And I am proud to call Galway my home. When I took over as President I said that my main focus would be job creation, helping businesses to establish and grow and to encourage more people to think about entrepreneurship and provide them with the supports to grow,’
The President mentioned the success of the PorterShed, GTC and his involvement in both through Galway Chamber. He also spoke about the Chamber’s ‘Why Galway’ initiative.
‘But Galway is not without its challenges. We have problems with infrastructure, particularly traffic. Our members have serious concerns regarding traffic particularly on the East side of the city and specifically in the Parkmore industrial estate. Our member companies are planning for growth, but they need the infrastructure to be in place for this growth to happen
‘So, in relation to this, I was underwhelmed with the recently published Draft National Planning Framework in relation to Galway and the West of Ireland. ‘Make no mistake about the importance of this for Galway because, once enacted later this year, the National Planning Framework will underpin national investment policy for the next ten years. If the Plan does not include investment for Galway, there will be no investment in Galway,’ he said.
The President said that the NPF is ‘business as usual’ and shows little ambition for the region. After Brexit, the West of Ireland will be the most isolated region in the EU and the draft Plan does little to address this. There are four crucial elements that we need: Connectivity, Spatial Planning, Health and Well Being and Innovation and Growth.
‘It is time we get serious about capital investment. If we simply make capital investments based on the current location of our population, we will miss another opportunity to address the vast regional imbalance. I would urge our TDs and those in local representatives to lobby hard on behalf of Galway and the West of Ireland. We need a Galway that works. We need the infrastructure, we need the housing. We need an environment that will allow the people of Galway and our businesses to flourish’, President Maurice O’Gorman concluded. (Full speech on www.galwaychamber.com )
The Special President’s Award kindly sponsored by PwC.
This year’s recipient is Pat McDonagh.
An individual who has made a contribution to the business life of Galway that is outstanding in every way and embodies our theme of this year’s award of Outstanding Achievement.
Pat’s story is the stuff of legend. He identified an opportunity in the locality for a quick-service restaurant while teaching in Kilrickle in Co.Galway. The first Supermac’s opened its door in 1978 on Main Street, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway and introduced the world to ‘the Snack Box’. Since that first opening Supermac’s restaurants have become a firm fixture in towns and cities around Ireland. Today Supermac’s is the largest indigenous quick-service restaurant group with a policy of continued expansion and growth.
Now, branched into hotels and expanded globally, Pat himself is a firm believer in hands-on management and is very much involved in the day-to-day management of his businesses. Pat is joined on the board of directors by Una, who is also actively involved in the running of the business. Pat has a keen interest in sport with a particular interest in hurling. Supermac’s have been the proud sponsors of Galway hurling teams since 1990. Pat, whose Supermacs business, is a worldwide brand, addressed the audience with a speech incorporating his road to success and what is important to him in terms of business and life.
The Category Winners of the Galway Chamber Business Awards 2017, in association with Shannon Airport were:
Category 1: Best Emerging Enterprise sponsored by WestBIC and Galway Technology Centre
Category 2: Best Innovation/R&D sponsored by VHI Healthcare
Winner: Insight Research Institute, NUI Galway
Category 3: Best SME sponsored by AIB
Winner: Evergreen Healthfoods Ltd
Category 4: Best Customer Service sponsored by Bank of Ireland
Category 5: Best Marketing including Social & Digital Media sponsored by Galway City Council
Winner: An Púcan, Connacht Hospitality Group
Category 6: Best Social Enterprise/CSR sponsored by Magnet Networks
Winner: Boston Scientific
Category 7: Best Tourism sponsored by Shannon Airport
Winner: The Galway Races
We would like to congratulate the Overall Winner, the President’s Award Recipient, all the Category Winners, all the companies who entered and of course, our sponsors, without whom the event could not happen.
The actual awards, given on Friday, are unique pieces by ceramic artist Rachel Webb
They are a reflection of the theme of this year’s awards Éacht thar na Bearta or Outstanding Achievement