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Bruree woman is top of the class as Limerick Entrepreneur of the Year 2017

Publish Date: Friday 10th March 2017

- Student Programmes Ireland Ltd scoops top prize as four other companies honoured at Limerick final of National Enterprise Awards

Bernie Carroll founder of Student Programmes Ireland Ltd has been named as Limerick Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 at the Limerick Final of the National Enterprise Awards in the Absolute Hotel, Limerick today (Friday 10 March 2017).

The Burree-based business, which provides education programmes for European students who want to improve their English language learning skills also scooped the Best Service Business at the ceremony.

Pictured is Joe and Bernie Carroll, Bruff (centre) of Student Programmes Ireland, winners of the National Enterprise Awards Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Best Service Business with the Mayor of Limerick City & County Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon, Bernie Moloney, Local Enterprise Office and sponsor Conor O’Sullivan, Head of AIB, Limerick and Clare. Photograph: Liam Burke Press 22

Student Programmes Ltd was one of five companies presented with awards by the Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Kieran O Hanlon, Conor O’Sullivan AIB who are sponsors of the awards, and Bernie Moloney, Acting Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Limerick.

The company was set up by Bernie Carroll and her husband Joe in 2009 and develops tailor made language learning programmes to suit the needs of each individual student.

Bernie Carroll has 12 years of experience in dealing with International students and has built up a very powerful team for her business over the past few years.

Bernie said: “I’m delighted to have won the award as Entrepreneur of the Year. I’m totally shocked. It is such a team effort from the administrators to the local co-ordinators to the liaison officers for each country.”

“I’m very thankful to LEO Limerick for the invaluable guidance and expertise they have given me. It’s great to have an independent sounding board who will evaluate your ideas and give you feedback.”

Four other category winners were also announced

  • Best Manufacturing Business: Auto Body Solutions Ltd
  • Best New Start-up: Get West
  • Best Retail Business: Brew Brothers
  • Innovation Award: Mackessy Technology Ltd

Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon congratulated all of the winners. He said: “the financial assistance paid by LEO Limerick during 2016 provided assistance for the creation of 129 additional jobs in the sector. Employment projections by the promoters of projects approved during 2016 has indicated an additional 70 jobs will be created this year as a direct result of the financial assistance received. The total amount of grant aid approved by LEO Limerick in 2016 was €851,094, in respect of 39 projects. The amount paid out by LEO Limerick in respect of grant aid during the period was €683,676 of which €221,027 was paid by way of refundable aid.”

"Since its establishment in 2014, the Local Enterprise Office has proven to be an important facilitator of direct supports, business growth and jobs in the local start-up and SME sector”.

The National Enterprise Awards competition is organised by Ireland's network of Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) to give recognition to the contribution of micro enterprises to the national economy.

Bernie Carroll and Student Programmes Ireland Ltd will now go forward to represent Limerick in the National Finals in the Mansion House in Dublin on Thursday 25 May 2017.

Past winners of the national competition include DesignPro Ltd from Limerick, Irish Yogurts from West Cork, Hot Irishman Irish Coffee from Carlow, and Grouse Recording Studios from Westmeath. In 2016 Global Sauce from the Food Centre in Raheen won the Best Start Up Award in this competition.

The Local Enterprise Office Limerick supports start up and growing small business through its programme of advice, mentoring, training and financial support.

LEO Limerick is part of the Economic Development and Strategic Planning Directorate of Limerick City and County Council and is based at 7/8 Patrick Street, Limerick. Visit

Categories: News, Business

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Format: 2017-03-30
Format: 2017-03-30