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Simply brilliant! Evelyn and Luke scoop another business gong

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Pictured are the winners at the Louth County Final of the National Enterprise Awards with Louth’s Head of Enterprise Thomas McEvoy, Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council Cllr. Liam Reilly and Chief Executive of Louth County Council Joan Martin. The award winners in the Start-Up Category are Tom & Nicola Grills of Sixling Gin. Winners of the Innovation Category are Rory & Geraldine Clarke of Dureka and winners of the Established Category are Evelyn Garland & Luke Judge (absent from the picture) from Simply Fit Food.

Simply Fit Food, the wildly successful local success story funded by Drogheda couple Evelyn  Garland and Luke Judge, scooped the top prize at the Louth County Enterprise Awards on Friday afternoon – at a ceremony at the Monasterboice Inn which saw three couples take home major gongs.

As the final event held as part of the 2020 Local Enterprise Week in Louth, the annual awards ceremony allows for the very best of business and entrepreneurship in the Wee County to be celebrated. Joining in the celebrations were guests of honour Cllr Liam Reilly, Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council, and local authority Chief Executive Joan Martin.

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Simply Fit Food were named as Best Established Business at the awards, hosted by LMFM’s Gerry Kelly, before winning the overall award ahead of Dundalk-based companies Sixling Gin and Dundalk Dureka Dental Handpieces.

The company started out provides customised nourishing, healthy meals and snacks that could be delivered straight to their customers doors – ready for consumption, allowing the company and their meal plans to help take the stress out of healthy cooking and health-conscious eating for their customers.

However, the business has scaled significantly since then with their ranges now available online and in most major retailers in Ireland and Northern Ireland – including SuperValu, Dunnes, Centra and Spar. Evelyn and Luke, who was unable to attend the event due to work commitments, also plan to expand into the UK market later this year.

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Having won the overall prize at the County Louth Enterprise Awards, Simply Fit Food will now go forward to represent Louth in the National Enterprise Awards finals in The Mansion House Dublin on May 28.

Sixling Gin (pictured below, left), based in the Blackthorn Business Park in Dundalk took home the Best Start-Up Prize. Husband and wife team Tom and Nicola Grills started the company in 2018  with their Sixling Cloudberry Gin product and since then have juggled raising a young family and expanding their business.

Their efforts have been awarded with accolades such as winning Best Irish Contemporary Gin 2020 at The World Gin
Awards Best Irish Distilled Gin at 2019 The Irish Gin Awards. In 2020, the duo plan to start to export international, with upcoming trade events Dusseldorf, Singapore and Tokyo in their sights.

The Innovation Award was awarded to Rory and Geraldine Clarke of Dureka Dental Handpieces (pictured below, left), also based in Dundalk. An emerging developer of precision dental handpieces, they are one of only 20 companies in the world that are regulated, certified manufacturers of dental drills. Between 2012 and 2018, the company worked tirelessly to design their handpieces and develop their product.

After seven years, in 2019, Dureka Dental achieved that certification and launched their product line at the International Dental Show in Cologne, Germany. Rory and Geraldine are are poised to take a slice of the global dental equipment market, which is worth an estimated €7.5 billion annually.

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“Enterprise is so crucial to the health of the economy here in Louth. Our role in the Local Enterprise Office is to advice and guide SMEs across the county to help them grow and create jobs,” Thomas McEvoy, Head of Enterprise of LEO Louth said at the event.

“Although Local Enterprise Week may be over, we are always here to help and support local business.”

Attendees also heard from National Enterprise Awards 2019 winner Sonia Deasy, of skincare brand Pestle and Mortar, while the awards – in keeping with the theme of the day – were created by husband and wife artists Declan Kelly and Els Boghart of EDDE Art.

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