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Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, presents awards to the best in small business

Briody Bedding named overall winner at the SFA National Small Business Awards 2018

Finalist companies from 13 counties employ 607 people

The aim of the awards is to celebrate the achievements of small business in Ireland, and to recognise the vital contribution of the small business sector to the Irish economy. The winners were selected from hundreds of applications received for the 2018 programme.

Briody Bedding is based in Ballinrink Co. Meath, employing 50 people. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive bedding and furniture manufacturers in Ireland and produces a diversified line of mattress and foundation products. All products are manufactured in Ireland and distributed to furniture retailers throughout the country on a daily basis. Brands by Briody include Briody Bedding, Spring Air, Therapedic and The Pocket Spring Bed Company.

Announcing the winner, Sue O’Neill, SFA Chair and Chair of the Awards Judging Panel, said: “This family business established in 1974 is going from strength to strength. Briody Bedding is one of the largest employers in Ballinrink, Co Meath and the company is not only manufacturing there, it is carrying out extensive R&D to develop innovative products to help the company penetrate new export markets.”

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, who presented the Awards stated: ““Ireland has a strong history of entrepreneurship and, without a doubt, this year’s nominees personify the strength of resilience and character that makes up our small business sector. Given their level of enthusiasm and determination, I have no doubt that each of these businesses have a very bright future ahead of them. The Government is committed to supporting the sector in every way it can with a particular focus on the context of Brexit. We provide a suite of supports to businesses, including through our enterprise agencies and, at the end of March, I will open a €300m Brexit Loan Scheme in partnership with Minister Michael Creed, the EIB, the European Commission and the SBCI.”

The seven category winners are:

  • Manufacturing: Briody Bedding (Meath)
  • Food & Drink: Revive Active (Galway)
  • Services: Irish Tax Rebates (Kildare)
    • Highly commended: Kerona Scientific (Dublin)
  • Outstanding Small Business (up to 5 employees): (Dublin)
    • Highly commended: Mezzo Music Academy (Dublin)
  • Innovator of the Year: Aalto Bio Reagents (Dublin)
  • Sustainable Energy: Courtown Adventure and Leisure Centre (Wexford)
    • Highly commended: Starting Small Standing Tall (Limerick)
  • Exporter of the Year: Good4U (Sligo)

This is the fourteenth year of the SFA National Small Business Awards, an initiative of the Small Firms Association.

The award categories are sponsored by AIB, Bord Bia, DHL, Energia, Enterprise Ireland, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Three. The Emerging New Business section is sponsored by IE Domain Registry. Skillnets is the management development partner.

Speaking at the Awards Gala Ceremony, Sue O’Neill said “In our growing economy the companies we are recognising with these awards are doing well. They are creating employment. Evident amongst them is a strategic approach to diversification in order to combat the immediate and potential future effects of Brexit. Small businesses contributed to the recovery of our economy by making difficult decisions in times of recession. They are proving yet again their resilience and flexibility when faced with new challenges.”


For interviews, please contact: Sue O’Neill, SFA Chair, 087 9013311

Issued by: Linda Barry, SFA Assistant Director, 01 6051626 / 087 1472811 or


  • Interviews with the Award Winners can be arranged through Gillian O’Keefe, Awards Executive on 01 6051664 / 087 3522347 or     
  • Additional photographs available from

Category winners:

Manufacturing Category (up to 50 employees), sponsored by Energia

The winner of this category was Briody Bedding (Meath).

Briody Bedding is based in Ballinrink Co. Meath, employing 50 people. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive bedding and furniture manufacturers in Ireland and produces a diversified line of mattress and foundation products. All products are manufactured in Ireland and distributed to furniture retailers throughout the country on a daily basis. Brands by Briody include Briody Bedding, Spring Air, Therapedic and The Pocket Spring Bed Company.

Food & Drink Category (up to 50 employees), sponsored by Bord Bia

Winner of this category was Revive Active (Galway).

Revive Active is a Galway brand that formulates and markets high quality super supplements for the world market. From humble beginnings in 2011, Revive now has six products on the market selling through 1,000 retail outlets in Ireland and 50 in London. Through its online portal it has exported to 42 countries worldwide. In 2017 Revive Active was voted Number 1 VMS product (Vitamin, Mineral & Dietary Supplement) as well as listed 414th in the top 1,000 fastest growing companies in Europe by the London Financial Times.

Services Category (up to 50 employees), sponsored by Three

Winner of this category was Irish Tax Rebates (Kildare) and highly commended was awarded to Kerona Scientific (Dublin).

Irish Tax Rebates provide a professional accountancy service to all PAYE employees. A team of Accountants and Tax Advisers offer expert taxation advice, and act in the best interest of all clients, maximising any potential overpayments of tax, and saving clients the need to deal with the complexities of the Revenue system themselves. Enabling access to their services via a simple online form, they aim to advise all clients within seven working days of their potential for a rebate, and then forward payment to them just a few short days later, in a very cost-effective manner.

Kerona Scientific is an award winning scientific regulatory consultancy headquartered in Skerries, Co Dublin, also with offices in Spain. Kerona assists companies from the biocide and agrochemical sectors in obtaining the necessary approvals to register and market their products in the EU. Founded in 2014, Kerona has grown to become the largest Irish regulatory consultancy, with a team possessing a combination of specialist scientific skills and European languages including Russian and Arabic native speakers. This language mix reflects the diverse geographic nature of Kerona’s client base which includes many of the leading global biocide and agrochemical companies.

Outstanding Small Business (up to five employees), sponsored by AIB

Winner of this category was (Dublin) and highly commended was awarded to Mezzo Music Academy (Dublin)., led by husband and wife team Keith and Jules Mahon, is a digital food, drink and travel magazine. A new format of writing dedicated to Ireland’s growing foodie culture, it has grown to five million readers in just two years. Now the most read food magazine in Ireland, a team of five passionate writers based in Drumcondra have achieved the ultimate award in 2016 from Gourmand for Best Digital Food Magazine in the world.

Mezzo Music Academy was established just over six years ago, and provides music tuition for newborn babies right up to adults in their 80s. Teaching all instruments, musicianship, kindermusik, choirs, performing arts and jam sessions, Mezzo currently has over 450 students and 40 teachers. With a dynamic team of mostly young teachers who inspire their students and encourage them to love music for life, Mezzo hosts three recitals a year, where all students are encouraged to perform and build confidence. 

Innovator of the Year (up to 50 employees), sponsored by Enterprise Ireland

Winner of this category was Aalto Bio Reagents (Dublin).

Headquartered in Dublin, Aalto Bio Reagents is celebrating its 40th year in business. The company manufactures and provides leading-edge biological raw materials to the largest diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies around the world with a particular focus on the tropical disease sector. Its aim is to act as an extension of its customer’s R&D department, working with each individual client to address their specific product needs. Aalto is on a fast growth trajectory with a rapidly expanding product range and customer base through its continuous programme of new product development.

Sustainable Energy Category (up to 50 employees), sponsored by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)

Winner of this category was Courtown Adventure and Leisure Centre (Wexford) and highly commended was awarded to Starting Small Standing Tall (Limerick).

Courtown Adventure and Leisure Centre in the sunny south east offers a fantastic range of exciting indoor and outdoor adventures for all. Facilities include: 25 metre swimming pool, learner pool, kids’ slides, 65m water slide, fully equipped gym, fitness classes, dual zip wire, climbing walls, quick jump, archery, laser tag and orienteering. With the beach and seal sanctuary nearby this non- profit making centre run by professional staff provides a perfect family day out.

Starting Small Standing Tall is a professionally accredited childcare centre. The owners have created an energy efficient childcare model with its carbon footprint in mind. Starting Small Standing Tall currently caters for 200 children ranging in age from six months to 12 years. They have created an environment for the children that has a positive impact on their learning and development. This stimulates their curiosity and independence which also fosters a sense of respect for the environment.

Exporter of the Year (up to 50 employees), sponsored by DHL

Winner of this category Good4U (Sligo).

Good4U is a family-run company which has been producing healthy food and snacks since 2005. Good4U products are on the shelves of some of the world’s largest retail chains in both branded and private label and are available in eight countries across the globe. Their products include sprouted seeds, energy balls, super seed snacks and seed pots available in both retail and catering ranges. Their vision is to become the world’s most loved and trusted health food brand and will continue to evolve with the ever-changing planet.

Emerging New Business (up to 50 employees and under two years old), sponsored by IE Domain Registry

The five companies selected for showcasing in this section were:

  • Duffy Chartered Engineers Ireland (Louth)   
  • Happy Scribe (Dublin)
  • HEATESE (Meath)
  • Medlaw Reporting (Dublin)
  • Zoan BioMed (Galway)

Duffy Chartered Engineers Ireland (DCE IRL) is a multi-disciplinary chartered engineering consultancy providing full civil, structural and traffic engineering services to both private and public sector clients throughout Ireland, the UK and the Middle East. The company specialises in structural engineering, civil engineering, road safety audits, traffic impact studies, and timber frame design and have a wide range of experience in a number of key sectors including the commercial and residential building industries and the transport infrastructure industry.

Happy Scribe is a transcription-as-a-service platform for the research and media communities. Happy Scribe provides this solution using voice recognition technologies combined with an interactive editor to make the process fast and seamless.

HEATESE is the innovative clean technology company dedicated to reducing carbon emissions and fuel use. Using its proprietary heating system, developed and manufactured in Ireland, HEATESE is reducing both the carbon emissions and heating costs of homes, businesses and farms by up to 80% - both existing and new build.

Medlaw is Ireland's leading medicolegal firm, interfacing between the medical, legal and insurance professions to ensure the efficient provision of medicolegal reporting. Medlaw has 250 medical experts on its panel, covering all specialities, who are located nationwide. Medlaw has introduced a new method of providing medicolegal reporting to Ireland. Now a law firm or insurance firm can instruct Medlaw who will then identify the most appropriate expert in the country for that particular case.

Zoan BioMedLtd is a Galway based medical device start-up, specialising in bone healing and repair. The gold standard in orthopaedic trauma operations is autograft, use of which is in decline. This procedure requires a second operation, increasing the risk of infection, adding cost, and slowing healing times. Zoan has developed a natural bone replacement material, using tropical marine coral as the architects. The coral’s exoskeleton and interconnected pore structure mirrors that of human bone.