Local businesswomen take titles at national awards

  • Network Ireland Limerick Businesswoman Awards Pic Brian Arthur
  • Network Ireland Limerick Businesswoman Awards Pic Brian Arthur
Catriona O’Donoghue, President of Network Ireland Limerick, Patrick O’Sullivan (judge) and Hannah Wrixon, Get the Shifts. (Pic: Brian Arthur)

Hannah Wrixon, Network Ireland Limerick member and founder of Get the Shifts, was announced as the winner of the 'Emerging New Business Businesswoman of the Year' at a gala awards ceremony in Cork on Friday night. Highly Commended in the Arts Category was singer/songwriter Emma Langford.

Chupi Sweetman, the owner of jewellery brand, Chupi, was announced as the winner of the 'Large SME Owner Businesswoman of the Year' at the Network Ireland awards.

As members of Network Ireland Limerick, Hannah and Emma were put forward as finalists having won at the regional businesswoman of the year awards in Limerick last May. Hannah beat off stiff competition from 12 other finalists in the 'Emerging News Business' category which was sponsored by Enterprise Ireland.

Hannah Wrixon is a serial entrepreneur whose latest venture Get the Shifts is disrupting the hospitality sector one shift at a time. With her eye firmly on innovative software, Hannah is committed to supporting clients through a ground-breaking App and excellence in customer service.

This year saw a record number of entries for the awards from Network Ireland’s 15 branches across the country.

There were eight award winners announced on the evening: 

  • Social Enterprise Award: Angela Hayes, Thomas Hayes Trust (Kilkenny)
  • Employee Rising Star: Helen Walsh, Employflex (Cork) 
  • Employee Shining Star: Katherine O’Sullivan, O’Donnell Design (West Cork) 
  • Small SME Owner: Noreen Doyle, The Irish Biltong Company (Kildare) 
  • Large SME Owner: Chupi Sweetman, Chupi (Dublin) 
  • STEM Award: Sheila Donegan, Calmast (Waterford) 
  • Emerging New Business: Hannah Wrixon, Get the Shifts (Limerick) 
  • Arts Award: Joanne Costello, Xmedia (Wicklow) 

There was a strong Limerick contingent supporting Hannah and Emma and the other three finalists representing the Limerick Branch. Olivia Buckley (Olivia Buckley International), Patricia Roberts (No. 1 Pery Square), and Petrina Hayes (The Savoy Collection) were also among the women competing for national recognition.

Catriona O’Donoghue, President of Network Ireland Limerick, said “We are thrilled for Hannah and Emma.  It’s great to see our members being rewarded for their extraordinary achievements. I would also like to congratulate our other finalists for stepping up and putting themselves out there. This is the second year in a row we’ve brought home a national award. This is an incredible testament to the success of the Limerick branch and local businesswomen.”

More than 250 delegates attended the Network Ireland National Conference and Awards Ceremony on Friday 27th of September. The conference was being hosted by TV presenter Sonya Lennon and is one of the biggest of its kind in Ireland for professional women. 

 Network Ireland is Ireland’s longest established and leading female focused business network. The conference and awards took place at the Celtic Ross Hotel, West Cork.

 The keynote speakers and panelists included:

  • MC Sonya Lennon, Designer, businesswoman and social entrepreneur 
  • Moderator Gráinne McCarthy, Deputy Chief News Editor, Wall Street Journal
  • Moderator Kevin Cullinane, Head of Communications, Cork Airport
  • Grace O'Rourke, Speaker - Fitness and Mindset Coach (Completed Special Forces Ultimate Hell Week) 
  • Joanne Hession, Founder and CEO of LIFT Ireland
  • Peter Cosgrove, Future of Work Expert
  • Michelle Noone, Head of Search & State Boards, Public Appointments Service
  • Sheelagh Daly, Entrepreneurship Manager Enterprise Ireland
  • Ronan Murphy, Group CEO Smarttech247 and Getvisibility.com
  • Helen Smyth, Head of Ireland, GBG Scaled, Facebook
  • Dawn Leane, Principal Consultant at Leane Leaders
  • Deirdre Somers, Company Director
  • Rose-Marie Kennedy, Director, Risk Advisory, Deloitte
  • Sharon Corcoran, Director of Economic Development, Enterprise & Tourism, Cork County Council
  • Cllr Christopher O'Sullivan, Mayor of the County of Cork
  • John O'Doherty, Head of AIB Cork  

The following were the sponsors for the awards which were presented on the night:

  • AIB Large SME
  • Enterprise Ireland Emerging New Business
  • Facebook STEM Category
  • In Good Company Small SME
  • MSD Brinny Employee Rising Star
  • O'Flynn Exhams Social Enterprise Category
  • Deloitte Employee Shining Star
  • Cork County Council Arts Category

Cork County Council were the partners for the national conference while AIB are the official Partners of Network Ireland nationally #BackedbyAIB @AIBBiz 

President of Network Ireland, Helen Wycherley said: “Through the conference we wanted to empower women to step up to the challenge, grow their confidence, seize opportunities and drive their personal and professional development. While at the same time leading and inspiring others. Our awards recognised the outstanding success and achievements of our members, it was a super occasion and night of celebration.”