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News - Spring 2014



Chamber Business Awards - Nomination Process

It's time to start thinking about who are the Carlow businesses best deserving of recognition in Carlow this year. We have made the nomination process as simple as can be:

1). There are 18 categories:
2). Businesses can self nominate in the category of their choosing.
3). Businesses can nominate a business they do business with.
4). Since much of our business is to the consumer the public can now also nominate.
5). Likewise employees may wish to acknowledge the efforts of their employers in the provision of employee training programmes, the development of career prospects and the provision of positive workplaces that encourage creativity and innovation.
6). The categories and criteria are listed below. Simply fill in the online nomination form using the criteria detailed below the nomination form to guide your choices.
7). The judges will review and shortlist four nominees in each category (except the Lifetime Achievement Award).

Sponsorship 

Many thanks to all who already offered to sponsor; we still have a few slots available for anyone interested in sponsoring a category. Email asap to ceo@carlowchamber.com if you would like to be involved.

Categories & Criteria

Carlow Best Eating Establishment: Judges are looking for an eating establishment providing a wide variety of fine food in a pleasant environment with excellent customer service.

Carlow Best Licenced Premises: Open to local pubs and hotels within the County. Judges are looking for premises that offer a comfortable environment suitable to their target market clientele. Nominees will be assessed for customer service, ambience of premises, cleanliness & hygiene and exterior and interior décor.

Carlow Community Care & Voluntary Service Award: This award is designed to recognise and celebrate the success of Community and Voluntary enterprises in County Carlow. Nominees will be organisations that are who have made a significant, sustained contribution to their community. Often working behind the scenes, these organisations provide their time and efforts to help their fellow citizens.

Carlow Corporate & Social Responsibility Award: We are looking for businesses who actively demonstrate a commitment to improving the county in which we live. The winner will have made a difference to their local community by for example:

· Encouraging and supporting volunteering among its employees. Their efforts to encourage conservation of their local environment.

· Actively supporting their community via Corporate Responsibility focused activity. Volunteered their time to help others in the community and beyond. This award is open to businesses of any size that have demonstrated activities promoting corporate responsibility.

Carlow Customer Service – Professional Services: This award recognises the importance of excellence in customer service among companies providing professional services that are committed to offering the highest values of customer care. Nominees will come from professions such as estate agents, architects, solicitors, quantity surveyors, dental and medical providers, financial advisors, travel agents, banks and building societies. Criteria for assessing this award will be customer service, product knowledge, meeting customer expectations.

Carlow E-marketing Award: The impact of digital technology has had a major impact on marketing for businesses. Digital channels have moved to centre stage and offer new angles of engagement with customers. The judges will want to hear about businesses who have successfully implemented a marketing campaign through online channels. Entrants will be judged on how they conceptualised and executed the campaign, engaged customers and generated meaningful results using solid principles of marketing.

Carlow Emerging Business Award (Under 18 months): Open to all new businesses in Carlow in the past 18 months or who have undergone significant change. The winner will have displayed a strategic approach to business, successful implementation and will have good prospects for the future.

Carlow Exporter of the Year Award: This award is open to all businesses that export product or services. Judges will be looking at exporters who can demonstrate success in securing and building new export markets and who have developed a strategic export plan.

Carlow Food and Beverage Producers Award: This award recognises the importance of the Irish food business and the top performing businesses within this dynamic and innovative sector. Judges will be looking for superior quality and excellence from local food and beverage producers/manufacturers. Nominees will demonstrate excellence an innovation in production and management processes, compliance with food hygiene regulations and HACCP principles.

Carlow Green Business Award: Open to all businesses who can demonstrate ongoing clear green credentials through their implementation of an environmental initiative in the last two years and/or who are able to demonstrate their environmental commitment from the use of their product/services.

Carlow Investment in People Award: This award is open to all businesses who recognise their staff as their greatest asset. These businesses work year round with imagination and conviction to create outstanding training programmes, to develop career prospects, to foster a workplace which delivers creativity and innovation. The winning company in this category will have the ability to inspire and motivate staff.

Carlow Lifetime Achievement Award: This Award will be presented to a pillar of the Carlow business community, a person who has led and inspired others, a person who has spent a lifetime in business - in good times and bad. The Lifetime Achievement recipient will have had a key impact in his/her sector, will have been the key driving force in that business and will have shown outstanding leadership qualities, developed and achieved clear business goals in the course of their business life. Their work will have made a significant difference in their community and sector; their commitment will have been more than simply doing a job. They will have gone above and beyond what was expected of them.

Carlow Retailer of the Year – Best Customer Service: This business will have shown a commitment to offering the highest levels of service to each and every customer. Evaluation will take into account customer service and attention, shop cleanliness, layout and accessibility, in-store promotional materials and presentation of shop front.

Carlow Rural Enterprise of the Year Award: This award celebrates the characters, skills and dedication of the people who keep the countryside alive through enterprise and good quality produce and services. Entry is open to farmers and rural entrepreneurs with well thought out business ideas or with new and innovative businesses

Carlow Service to Business Award: Open to all businesses who provide product or services to businesses locally. Eligible nominees will come from sectors such as cleaning providers, security service providers, office equipment and service providers, it service providers and trade service providers. The nominees will have demonstrated a high level of innovative service delivery and commitment to businesses they supply.

Carlow Technology and E-Business Award: Companies who harness the latest business thinking and technology that keeps them at the cutting edge will be eligible to be nominated for this award. Judges will be looking for evidence of use of technology, innovation, research and development. Entrants will be forward thinking with a demonstration to strive for continued success by pushing the boundaries. The winner will have an excellent appreciation of how new technology can deliver a competitive advantage.

Carlow Venue of the Year Award: This award is open to all businesses/organisations that provide truly memorable and quality experiences in their venues. Eligible entrants will have shown excellence in catering from a diverse range of events, for example, family destinations, business conferences, weddings, music events, sports events and entertainment venues.

Carlow Young Person in Business Award (Under 30): The winner will be a young business person who displays a clear understanding of the demands involved in running a company, or demonstrates enthusiasm for their role within a company and has the potential to become a significant contributor to the Carlow business community.

 If you would like to submit your nominations, then please send them to ceo@carlowchamber.com. Alternatively, you can fill out your nominations online by following this link.



Chamber Business Awards

Quite a few people have enquired about our Annual Awards. Our Awards sub Committee have reviewed all aspects of the event and have taken a fresh and radical approach to the event and reactions are really positive.

This year's Chamber Awards will take place on Friday May 9th. 
It will be held in the GBS Theatre / Visual which will provide a really strong platform and showcase for the nominees and winners.  Catering will be by Lennons @ Visual. Full details later.

 The nomination process has been simplified and there will no longer be a lengthy application form to be completed. There are 18 categories and many businesses will be eligible in multiple categories. We are currently recruiting sponsors and should any company like to be included as a sponsor, please email me asap as we are getting strong support already.

 Nominations will be open to the public and the business community. Businesses can self nominate or be nominated by other businesses or the public. Nominations forms will be forwarded by newsletter (and can be filled in online) and will also be available through the Carlow Nationalist. A judging panel will then review the nominations and research the nominees before finalising their decisions. Mystery shoppers will be utilised for some categories.

Tickets for the event will cost €30 pp.



Employment Incentives Seminar

We recently held very informative discussions with Minster for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton and Pat Deering TD, about supports for the SME sector and incentives for employment. It was quickly evident to us that there is an information gap among employers around the whole area of employment initiatives.

To address that deficit we have teamed up with the Department of Social Protection to provide you with a detailed information seminar on employer supports and incentives which are available free of charge and which may help you recruit the staff you need. 
These include financial supports such as the new JobsPlus Scheme and employment initiatives such as JobBridge – the National Internship Scheme.

We are delighted to invite you to this free seminar, presented by the Department of Social Protections Mid-Leinster employer liaison team. 
Stephen Fitzgerald, Activation Manager, will be speaking about the Department’s Innovative Financial Supports coupled with a Professional Free Recruitment Service, that gives you access to a real talent pool of potential employees, which delivers real savings to you. 

This seminar will be of interest to all business sectors and we urge everyone to try to attend or send an appropriate representative from your business, you do not want to miss out on this fantastic opportunity to avail of much needed labour support, grant aided.
 This is an invaluable opportunity to gain firsthand information on what employment grants(up to €10,000), supports and other information that could help you keep your costs down while allowing your business to grow.

This event will take place in the Talbot Hotel Carlow on January 21st at 6.15pm. Please note that booking is essential and can be done by emailing ceo@carlowchamber.com.


Retail SurveyRetail Survey

We have circulated a short survey by email to retailers in Carlow Town. If you haven't received the link and would like to take part, simply click on this link.

 
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