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The Bank of Ireland 2014 Startup Awards were announced in the magnificent surroundings of the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin on Thursday 23rd October, 2014. The overall list of winners is below but I also want to acknowledge the 700 small businesses that took the time to enter the competition some 5 months ago. The judging process was rigorous and the final shortlist is testament to the very high quality of startups in Ireland and the diversity as represented across the many sectors in the awards categories.

It’s often a misused term but in awards programmes of this kind, it is fair to say that everyone is a winner. Let me qualify that; the Startup Awards process asks small businesses to examine their business across four categories – Vision, Goals, Strategy and Achievements. It’s an opportunity for small businesses to practice and refine their business plan by using the Startup Awards as a sounding board. So the awards programme should be seen as a stepping stone or learning point on the way to building a business.

I’ll come back to the presentation process in another post but suffice to say it was easy to separate those who practiced their presentation from those that did not. Let’s be clear, the better pitch doesn’t necessarily mean a better product or service but it leaves a better impression which leaves you better positioned for more in-depth follow ups. Again, part of the learning process or practice makes perfect.


Neil Doyle, Michael O’Brien, Samantha Kelly and Christine Meehan

One of my standout memories from the process was the presentation by the national finalists in Bank of Ireland’s Enterprise Lounge on Dublin’s Grafton Street. The passion, energy and enthusiasm of the entrepreneurs presenting was an uplifting experience and as a judge I want to thank those companies for giving me an insight into what makes an entrepreneur tick. I’m already looking forward to the 2015 Startup Awards.

It was a great night and thanks again to all those companies that made the time and effort. That’s me, second from left, celebrating with Samantha Kelly who won the Startup Hero award.

To the Bank of Ireland 2014 Startup Awards winners and runners up:

Digital / Online Startup of the Year

Gold                      ZenDoc

Silver                     Restored Hearing

Bronze                  Pundit Arena


Tech Startup of the Year

Gold                      Aralis

Silver                     OxyMem

Bronze                  Agile Networks


Innovative Startup of the Year

Gold                      OxyMem

Silver                     Pharmapod

Bronze                  Real World Retail


Product Startup of the Year

Gold                      Nutriband

Silver                     Slugs and Snails

Bronze                  Stayhold


Service Startup of the Year

Gold                      Agile Networks

Silver                     Coindrum

Bronze                  Sasta Fitness


Retail / Franchise Startup of the Year

Gold                      Adam and Friends

Silver                     Slugs and Snails

Bronze                  The Design Loft


Home or Craft-Based Startup of the Year

Gold                      Holos Skincare From Nature

Silver                     Kookee

Bronze                  Kinnegar Brewing


Women in Business Startup of the Year

Gold                      Pharmapod

Silver                     The Care Team

Bronze                  Sasta Fitness


Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Gold                      Nutriband

Silver                     Bru Brewery

Bronze                  KLF Corporate


AIS (Accelerator, incubator, Support Agency) of the Year

NDRC Launch Pad


Import / Export Startup of the Year

Gold                      Glanola

Silver                     Nutritics

Bronze                  KLF Corporate


Food & Drink Entrepreneurial Startup of the Year

Gold                      Gaelic Escargot

Silver                     Bru Brewery

Bronze                  Richmount Cordial Company


Social Enterprise Startup of the Year

Gold                      Like Charity

Silver                     Future Voices of Ireland

Bronze                  Rewrite Science


Startup Hero

Samantha Kelly – Irish Biz Party


Grand Prix – Startup Business of the Year

Agile Networks

If you’re a start up, take a free trial of Big Red Cloud and see how we can make running your accounts easier.

Related:Pre-budget submission every small business should read, Get a foundation of success for your start up

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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