John Magee, chairperson of the LEO Network; Paul Mahon and Paul O’Reilly, Watt Footprint; Simon Coveney, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment; and Christine Charlton, head of Enterprise, Westmeath County Council.

Westmeath company win at National Enterprise Awards

Watt Footprint Ltd, who are supported by Local Enterprise Office Westmeath, were winners at this year’s National Enterprise Awards.

Watt Footprint, an energy management company based in Mullingar, took home the One to Watch award.

Watt Footprint, who were announced as the winners of the Westmeath County Enterprise Awards in March, offer a one-stop-shop approach to delivering energy savings, from initial energy audits and delivery of upgrades to the measurement and verification of the resultant savings.

Watt Footprint have an in-house team of specialists including, energy engineers, energy auditors, metering specialists, software and technology experts and project managers. The team is supported by Watt Footprint’s suite of proprietary software and technology.

Paul O’Reilly, CEO of Watt Footprint, said: “It was fantastic to represent Westmeath and come home with this great award. There was some fantastic competition from all corners of the country and the award is a recognition of the terrific team we have at Watt Footprint.

“Paul (Mahon) and I set up Watt Footprint in 2020 with a view to delivering energy savings at a price point that’s affordable to all business, large and small. Today we have more than 450 active businesses nationwide where real savings are been delivered.

“As well as increasing the profitability of businesses these energy savings also protect them from the current and future energy crises.

“A special thanks to Christine Charlton and all the team in Westmeath LEO, who do a superb job promoting local businesses and certainly helped us to develop, expand and scale the business, such that we now have employed 15 people in just two years, and plan to have 30 employees by year end to develop markets in the UK and UAE.”

The overall winner at the National Enterprise Awards was Advanced Cosmetics, based in Ballina and supported by Local Enterprise Office Mayo.

The ‘concept to shelf’ manufacturing company was set up by cosmetic chemist Noreen Hackett in 2018, and launched to market in 2022. The business has secured contracts with some of the biggest brand names in the cosmetics industry.

Announcing the award winners at the Mansion House, Minister Simon Coveney said: “The National Enterprise Awards are the highlight of the small business and enterprise calendar. Year on year the diversity of businesses and the standard of companies that are coming through the process are getting stronger, and we should not be surprised given the innovation and endurance that businesses have shown in the past couple years.

“We have some outstanding winners but the finalists on the whole have been excellent, and this is the start of their journeys. We will ensure they continue to get the support they need to grow their businesses as small businesses in Ireland are at the core of every town, village and community and are vital to our economy.”

Several other companies won in a range of categories at the awards, which were established by the Local Enterprise Offices to celebrate the impact and quality of small businesses across the country.

The awards took place at the Round Room in the Mansion House in Dublin, and this is their 23rd year.

Innovation Award

The winner of the Innovation Award was the Wicklow Hops Company supported by Local Enterprise Office Wicklow, who use next generation technology in yeast fermentation and the growing of bacteria.

Best Export Award

The winner of the Best Export Award was Wild Irish Seaweed supported by Local Enterprise Office Clare, who are one of the only hand picked wild seaweed companies in Europe and export their premium product across the globe.

Best Start Up Award

The winner of the Best Start-Up Award was IMVIZAR supported by Local Enterprise Office Dun-Laoghaire-Rathdown, who create walkable storytelling experiences by using augmented reality for tourist attractions, universities and entertainers.

Green/ Sustainability Award

The winner of the Green/ Sustainability Award was Cream of the Crop supported by Local Enterprise Office Fingal, who are a zero waste company that create treats from surplus produce to help fight food waste.

This year’s winners share a €50,000 investment fund and eight regional winners were also announced on the night. Those winners are:

• High Resolution Lighting in the Dublin Region (backed by LEO South Dublin)

• Cotter Agritech in the South West Region (backed by LEO Limerick)

• Glass Innovations in the Mid East Region (backed by LEO Offaly)

• Hyde Irish Whiskey in the South Region (backed by LEO South Cork)

• Sully and Juno in the South East Region (backed by LEO Wexford)

• Silver Strand Rope Works in the North West Region (backed by LEO Donegal)

• Nualach Automation in the North East Region (backed by LEO Cavan)

• Lark Bridal in the West Region (backed by LEO Roscommon)

Also honoured on the night were West Cork Distillers, who won the Outstanding Achievement Award.

An example of a company who began with their LEO and then accessed support from Enterprise Ireland to grow their business globally, they were established by school friends Ger McCarthy, John O’Connell and Denis McCarthy in 2003. The company now employ more than 150 in their hometown of Skibbereen and export their whiskey to 70 countries.

Previous winners of the National Enterprise Awards include Irish Yoghurts (1998), Obelisk (2000), Simtech Aviation (2008), Digiweb (2004) and Design Pro (2013), Terra NutriTech (2018), Pestle & Mortar (2019) and Bevcraft (2021).

Last year’s winners were Aqualicence, supported by LEO Wicklow. Headed up by former Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) finalist Kate Dempsey, Aqualicence has positioned itself at the forefront of planning and project delivery in the offshore renewable energy sector.

The National Enterprise Awards are one of a number of initiatives that the Local Enterprise Offices run, to foster entrepreneurship across the country. Others include Local Enterprise Week, the Student Enterprise Programme, National Women’s Enterprise Day and Local Enterprise Showcase. The Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities are funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland. Established in 2014, the Local Enterprise Offices are the essential resource for any entrepreneur looking to start a business or any small business that is looking for support or advice to help them grow. Since their inception eight years ago, the Local Enterprise Offices have helped create over 25,000 jobs across the country. The LEOs work with thousands of client companies across Ireland in a diverse range of sectors offering mentoring, training, expert advice and financial supports to small businesses. For more information see