News & Events

SFA National Small Business Showcase – RDS – 1st February

Minister Mitchell O’Connor officially opens at 2:15pm

Promotion of entrepreneurship as a career opportunity is priority 

Finalists from the Small Firms Association National Small Business Awards 2017 will gather in Hall 3 (Serpentine Hall), RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 from 12:30pm to 6:00pm today, Wednesday, 1st February to showcase their businesses. The event is open to the public and is free to attend. 

Speaking ahead of the event SFA Chair, Sue O’Neill commented: “Following an intensive judging process in the SFA National Small Business Awards, the 33 finalist companies represented here today are from a wide range of business sectors, from 13 different counties and collectively employ 636 people. These companies are demonstrating ‘best in class’ entrepreneurship, innovation and achievement within small enterprises in Ireland.” 

The SFA Chair continued, “Small companies (which we define as employing less than 50 people), make up 98% of all businesses and we are present in every city, town and village in the country. Together we employ half of the private sector workforce – some 800,000 people - highlighting our collective impact.” 

“We are calling on Government to engage now in delivering a more medium to long-term vision for the small business community, as outlined in our “Next Generation Business” policy document. We want to make: ‘Ireland – the most vibrant small business community in the world – supporting entrepreneurship, valuing small business and rewarding risk takers.’ To do this, we need to tackle one by one, the key challenges our members have identified in achieving this vision, under the themes of culture and recognition, education and skills and the business environment. Our 2017 priority is to firmly establish entrepreneurship as a legitimate career aspiration”, stated O’Neill. 

Guest of Honour, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, stated: “The strength and scope of Irish small and emerging businesses is demonstrated here today. The Government and my Department are supporting these businesses with a wide range of services. In the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation's Statement of Strategy, 2016-2019, we have placed the growth and support of SMEs and indigenous enterprises at the centre of our medium to long term goals. I agree with the SFA on the importance of entrepreneurship as a career option. The Government's National Skills Strategy 2025 includes a commitment to develop an Entrepreneurship Education Policy Statement. This will help ensure that more young people can choose to become entrepreneurs, which are the lifeblood of our economy.” 

Seven categories are represented at the Showcase today: Up to 50 employees: Manufacturing, sponsored by Energia; Food & Drink, sponsored by Bord Bia; Services, sponsored by Three; Innovator of the Year, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland; Small Business Exporter of the Year, sponsored by DHL Express, Sustainable Energy, sponsored by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Outstanding Small Business (for up to five employees), sponsored by AIB. Also in attendance are five new businesses (in operation for less than two years) that are showcased in the category of Emerging New Business, sponsored by IE Domain Registry.

Throughout the day, the awards partners will be conducting 1-1 clinics on specific support areas for small business and in the ‘SFA Speaker’s Corner’ a line-up of experts will be offering key insights for small businesses.


Issued by Patricia Callan, SFA Director, Tel: 087-6999345, Email: 


The SFA Annual National Small Business Showcase will take place on Wednesday, 1 February from 12:30pm to 6:00pm in the Hall 3 (Serpentine Hall), RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. The event is open to the public and is free to attend. 

Event schedule

  • 12:30pm – Showcase opens – 1-1 clinics and exhibition stands open for visitors
  • 1:00pm – SFA Speaker’s Corner begins
  • 2:15pm – Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor arrives
  • 2:20pm - Opening ceremony
  • 3:00pm – SFA Speaker’s Corner sessions continue
  • 6:00pm – Showcase closes 

Full details can be found at: 

Photographs from the event are available on request from Louise Kenrick, SFA Awards Executive, Tel: 01 605 1664 / 087 980 0769 or e-mail: 

A full list and details of participating companies is available on and interviews with exhibiting companies can be arranged through Louise Kenrick.