News & Events

Minister announces Local Enterprise Showcase Awards for emerging Irish design businesses

Record number of Local Enterprise Office supported craft and design companies to take part in Showcase 2017.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’ Connor TD, has announced details of the “Local Enterprise Showcase Awards”. The awards are run by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) and open to their local craft and design businesses taking part in Showcase - Ireland’s International Creative Expo, which is being held in the RDS, Dublin from January 22nd to 25th 2017.

The new awards will recognise excellence and innovation amongst the 112 talented LEO supported craft makers and designers taking part. “Local Enterprise Showcase” this year replaces the Enterprise Zone as the destination for LEO-supported companies and the number of exhibitors in this area has jumped from 97 in 2016 to 112 in 2017.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor welcomed the introduction of the awards to mark emerging craft and design talent. The awards carry a first prize of a week’s product display in the Kilkenny Shop on Nassau Street, Dublin, and an opportunity to pitch their product to Kilkenny Shop buyers.

Speaking at the launch of the awards, Minister Mitchell O’Connor, said: “Ireland has a wealth of design talent and I am very encouraged that the number of emerging craft and design companies being supported by the Local Enterprise Offices at Showcase has increased this year. The LEOs have been a huge support for start-ups and small businesses in the blossoming design and craft sector. Supporting this creative sector will enable further job creation right across the country and I am delighted that these awards will recognise our incredible talent.”

“There is a strong appetite internationally for the work of Irish designers and makers, and the Local Enterprise Showcase is a great opportunity for craft makers to grow and develop. Our design and craft sector is contributing to jobs, exports, and tourism and Showcase plays a crucial role in helping put Irish companies on the international design map.”

Minister Mitchell O’Connor met five of the LEO-supported businesses taking part in Local Enterprise Showcase at the announcement of the awards at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in Dublin.

In attendance was Kieran Comerford on behalf of the LEOs, the Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Karen Hennessy and Gerry Murphy of Showcase Ireland Events Ltd. The exhibitors present were:


  • Fragrance designer Joanne Browne, of Jo Browne Natural Solid Perfume from Carlow, who will be exhibiting her new Solid Perfume and Solid Cologne ranges at Showcase.

  • Photographer Stewart Duffy, of Stewart Duffy Photography in Fingal, Co. Dublin, who will be exhibiting his striking images of Ireland’s natural land and seascapes.

  • Soap-maker Lucinda Layton, of Rose & Alice Handcrafted Soaps and Gifts from Co. Laois, who will be introducing a selection of men’s products and an expanded range of bath bombs and aromatherapy products at Showcase.

  • Eoin Shanley, of Copper Fish Studio in Wicklow, who will be showcasing functional art using natural and upcycled materials including wood and copper. 

  • Magdalena Dubaj, of Rainbow Stained Glass in Mayo, who will be exhibiting a large selection of handcrafted stained glass ornaments made using the copper foil technique.


Kieran Comerford of the Local Enterprise Offices, said: “We want the Local Enterprise Showcase to become the new destination for buyers to discover design and craft talent at Showcase 2017. Many of the 112 small businesses taking part in the Local Enterprise Showcase are new start-ups or first-time exhibitors. Their presence will give them a unique opportunity to secure substantial international orders and therefore grow their export markets and their job creation prospects.”

He added: “Showcase is an ideal marketplace where buyers from around the world can meet Irish designers in person. Our support for companies to be at the creative expo is part of year-round supports offered from LEOs in local authorities to designers and craftspeople which also include financial, mentoring, business advice clinics and training programmes.”

The Local Enterprise Showcase is located along the Balcony Area of the RDS Main Hall at Showcase , which is open to trade buyers from Sunday, January 22nd to Wednesday, January 25th 2017.

Further information is available through and



For media information, please contact:

Sarah Bohan, Engage Ireland

Ph: 087 6539936



Miriam Donohoe, Engage Ireland

Ph: 087 2393914


Photography note: High resolution images from Photocall Ireland are available, reproduction free, of exhibitors involved in this Local Enterprise Showcase announcement. Please request these from Engage Ireland.

Notes to Editor:

Showcase – Ireland’s International Creative Expo is one of the country’s largest international trade show, attracting more than 5,000 buyers from Ireland and around the world over the four days of the annual event. Showcase is a partnership between the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and Showcase Ireland Events Ltd, with support from Enterprise Ireland in promoting the show internationally through their network of offices overseas.


The 112 companies taking part in Local Enterprise Showcase are all supported by the Local Enterprise Offices and are coming from a range of creative sectors including ceramics, knitwear, jewellery, skincare and giftware.


*The five-LEO supported companies who met with Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor at the announcement of the Local Enterprise Showcase Awards were:

Name: Joanne Browne          Company Name: Jo Browne Natural Solid Perfume

LEO: Carlow                           Website:

Description: Joanne Browne is an Irish-based fragrance designer. She launched her Solid Perfume for women and Solid Cologne for men in 2016. The solid Fragrance is all hand-poured in Ireland and then packed in Eco Friendly Bamboo tubes. The main ingredient used in Jo Browne Solid Fragrance is Organic Beeswax.

Jo Browne Solid Fragrance contains no alcohol, so it’s ideal for travel and convenience. The Eco Bamboo packaging gives the product contemporary appeal.



Name: Stewart Duffy             Company Name: Stewart Duffy Photography

LEO: Fingal, Dublin                Website:

Description: Stewart Duffy is a Fingal-based photographer and environmentalist interested in capturing the rugged beauty of Ireland. His goal is to produce unique and striking images of Ireland’s natural land and seascapes. His images are colourful and dramatic and are ideal for either framing or as large canvass statement-pieces. Each print is signed by the photographer and ready to frame after purchase.  Self-taught in the field of landscape photography, Stewart’s photographs have become synonymous with vivid images of striking skyscapes, dramatic coastal scenes and peaceful countryside.


Name: Lucinda Layton           Company Name: Rose & Alice Handcrafted Soaps and Gifts

LEO: Laois                             Facebook Page:

Description: Rose & Alice Handcrafted Soaps and Gifts offers a wholesome range of handcrafted soaps made with 100% certified organic oils. At Showcase 2017, the company is set to introduce a selection of men’s products, bath salts, body scrubs, and an expanded range of bath bombs and aromatherapy products. Rose & Alice products are sold by retailers across Ireland, the UK and USA and the company is based on the Mooney Family Farm in Rosenallis, County Laois. Rapid growth in 2016 allowed the company to open a second location in Mountmellick.


Name: Eoin Shanley              Company Name: Copper Fish Studio

LEO: Wicklow                         Website:

Description: Copper Fish Studio in Wicklow produces hand-crafted functional art. All of their lamps and lights are made on site at Copper Fish Studio using natural and upcycled materials like wood and copper.  Their lamps and lights are distinctive, stylish and unique – each lamp is handmade and no two lamps are the same.


Name: Magdalena Dubaj       Company Name: Rainbow Stained Glass

LEO: Mayo                   

Description: Rainbow Stained Glass is exhibiting a large selection of handcrafted stained glass ornaments, all made using the copper foil technique. Behind Rainbow Stained Glass is Magdalena Dubaj, who discovered her passion for working with stained glass in 2007. She has an engineering background and from her workshop in County Mayo, Magdalena has been selling her products internationally including the USA and Hong Kong.