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Expat Taxes wins Waterford National Enterprise Award

National Enterprise Award Winner_Waterford 2024

Expat Taxes Ltd., a Waterford company specialising in tax for expatriates has been named as Waterford’s Enterprise Award winner and will go on to represent Waterford at the 24th National Enterprise Awards which will take place in the Mansion House, Dublin, on Thursday May 23rd 2024.

The announcement was made as part of the Local Enterprise Office’s Local Enterprise Week at the Mayor’s Parlour on Friday March 8th.

Expat Taxes Ltd. is a boutique Irish tax practice that simplifies taxes for people moving to or from Ireland. As Chartered Tax Advisers and Chartered Accountants with over 15 years’ experience they are experts in expatriate tax. It offers tax advisory and tax compliance services. Its aim is to make taxes less stressful and to help its clients navigate the complex work of international tax.

The aim of the National Enterprise Awards is to spotlight, showcase, encourage and support a culture of enterprise and entrepreneurship in our communities in Ireland, to promote entrepreneurship and to celebrate the achievement of the core client portfolio of the LEOs.

Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Joe Conway who presented the award was impressed with the winner, saying, “Expat Taxes represents the new outward looking Waterford. As our city and county continues to grow, progress and attract investment, companies such Expat provide a valuable and seamless service to those thinking of locating to Waterford and Ireland.

“I’d like to wish Stephanie and her team the best of luck as they go on to represent Waterford at the National Enterprise Finals.”

Gareth Evans, Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Waterford, congratulated the winners, “The National Enterprise Awards are very much a benchmark for excellence for small businesses across the country.  Expat Taxes has demonstrated its calibre, innovation and resourcefulness and is a very deserving winner of the Waterford award. To be so successful after just a few shorts years in business is a real achievement and I’m sure they will go on to represent us well on the national stage.”

Stephanie Wickham, owner, was obviously delighted to win the award, “After winning the Waterford Digital Award last year we know how important they can be for our profile. We’re really looking forward to representing Waterford on the national stage in May and would like to thank the team at the LEO for all their help over the years.”

The other four finalists in the Waterford NEAs were:

  • Euro Tachograph Solutions Ltd
  • CMC Hygea Ltd
  • Reso Health Ltd
  • Uoto Ltd

The Waterford Enterprise Awards took place as part of a very successful Local Enterprise Week programme of events.  There were over 300 events which took place across the country, run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices from March 4th to 8th.

Stiúideo Shortcourse wins Student Enterprise Awards

Stiúideo Shortcourse wins Student Enterprise Awards

Maebh Dimond from Gaelcholáiste Phort Láirge wins Best Student Enterprise in Waterford and qualifies for the National Student Enterprise Finals.

Stiúideo Shortcourse, winner of the Senior award, created, produced and sold local greeting cards providing creative new designs in Irish with recycled materials and crisp card designs for special occasions. Stiúideo Shortcourse’s key focal point is promoting the Irish language through sustainable sources. Maebh, from Gaelcholáiste Phort Láirge took part in the Local Enterprise Office’s Student Enterprise Awards on Tuesday March 5th at the Tower Hotel in Waterford City.

The Waterford Student Enterprise Programme started in September with 1,000 students from 14 schools in Waterford City and County. They created their businesses, developed, branded, promoted and sold. But most importantly they learned what it felt like to run their own business.

Finally, 100 students represented 11 schools in Waterford County and competed in the Waterford Student Enterprise Final on Tuesday March 5th at the Tower Hotel in Waterford City. 36 businesses in total, shortlisted from a total of 350 who commenced the competition in September, presented their business plans and challenged for the top prize in the county section of the Student Enterprise Programme. Stiúideo Shortcourse will represent Waterford at the National Finals on May 9th, taking on 34 other businesses, the best of the rest of the country.

Co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Office Waterford, the final took place during Local Enterprise Week. The competition is the most successful programme of its kind in the country. 27,000 budding entrepreneurs from 380 secondary schools across the country have been running their own enterprises, with help from their teachers and Local Enterprise Offices.

National finalists from all over the country will set-up enterprise exhibition displays before taking part in a series of judging interviews.  The judging panels take numerous factors into account, such as business reporting, innovation, market research, risk management and finances.

Praising the teachers and local schools involved in the programme, Gareth Evans, Head of Enterprise at the Local Enterprise Office Waterford, said: “The Student Enterprise Programme encourages and enables students to take on the world of business and develop an entrepreneurial mind-set. By fostering an enterprising culture in the classroom, the Local Enterprise Offices are working with teachers and schools to help nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Further information about May’s National Finals is available through, which also has free resources and video tutorials for students and teachers for the 2023/2024 programme.

For more information, please contact your Local Enterprise Office at 35 the Mall in Waterford City or Civic Offices in Dungarvan. Alternatively, you can email .


Local Enterprise Office Waterford announces programme for Local Enterprise Week 2024

Waterford Local Enterprise Office has announced a programme of 14 events across 5 days during Local Enterprise Week 2024, taking place for Waterford City and County businesses from March 4th to March 8th.

This year’s Local Enterprise Week will feature a host of informative and engaging workshops, seminars, presentations and advice clinics aimed at local businesses, whether in pre-start, start-up or as an established business looking to grow.

You can learn from the experts in finance, marketing, social media, A.I. and photography. You can create digital opportunities for business, audit your website and source funding.

A key event in this packed programme is the ever popular ‘Social Media Mash-Up’, taking place on Thursday March 7th from 10am to 12.30. Hosted by Teresanne O’Reilly it features digital marketing expert Muriel Foley of MGFD; Stephanie Wickham of Expat Taxes, winner of last year’s Digital Marketing Awards; Kevin Doolan, Director of Innovation at Walton Institute for Information and Communication Systems Science and Paul Dower, founder of Waterford in your pocket.

Tuesday March 5th celebrates the future of enterprise in Waterford with the Student Enterprise Programme County final in the Tower Hotel. 42 businesses from 12 schools will compete on the day for a place at the National Finals in May.

Later in the week the Local Enterprise Office celebrates International Women’s Day with a Dungarvan Chamber event on Thursday evening and a Networking Breakfast event on the Friday morning in the Viking Hotel.

Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Waterford Gareth Evans is looking forward to his first Enterprise Week, “This year’s Local Enterprise Week programme has something for everyone, whatever phase your business is in, or whatever sector your business is in.  The range of events and the calibre of speakers and facilitators have been specifically chosen by the team here in Waterford to address, with practical insight, what is required in achieving your business goals.

“The Local Enterprise Offices are tasked with assisting start-ups and small businesses to “Make it Happen”, each office strives to give these businesses the opportunities and resources to unleash their potential and make the path to growth as unhindered as possible. They also give those thinking of starting or expanding a business access to the full range of supports provided by State bodies and expert third parties, and that cross pollination is well reflected in the 2024 Local Enterprise Week programme.

“Waterford Local Enterprise Office is delighted to work in conjunction with various key business support organisations and state agencies, including Enterprise Ireland, Dungarvan Chamber and Waterford Chamber of Commerce to provide a programme that gives start-ups and small businesses opportunities to help them on the path to growth.”

To register for Local Enterprise Week events taking place in Waterford city and county from March 4th to 8th, visit!AK56SFMost events are completely free of charge while some have a nominal booking fee.  As with every year, many of the events are expected to book up quickly so early booking is strongly advised.


Big plans for Waterford designers at Showcase 2024

Waterford’s craft and design industry will have strong representation at this year’s Showcase Creative Expo, which takes place from January 21st to 23rd 2024 in The RDS in Dublin.

Running for over forty years, Showcase has an impressive track record in attracting Ireland’s most talented makers and designers, along with buyers from over twenty countries. It offers the chance to explore the best of Ireland’s creativity from over 450 exhibitors including leading Irish designers and manufacturers and the very best emerging home-grown creative talent.

Four craft and design companies will be showcasing the very best of Waterford creativity, design and innovation, with the assistance of Local Enterprise Office Waterford.


Fiona Fahy, Feed Me Mother

Feed Me Mother is Ireland’s first sustainable breastfeeding and maternity clothes brand. It’s dedicated to empowering breastfeeding mothers to look and feel stylish and comfortable. The idea came to its founder Fiona after the birth of her first child in 2017, “Sustainable clothing that supports mothers in their postpartum journey is very important to me. I wanted a breastfeeding wardrobe that reflected my own style and personality, that was comfortable but gave me the confidence to feed freely, anywhere I wanted. And I knew I couldn’t be alone in feeling this way.”


Lynn Shead, Natures Alchemy

Natures Alchemy offers natural skincare products with a herbal medicine twist. All products are infused with organic herbs and flowers to add extra layers of healing and protection to your skincare routine. Founder Lynn is looking forward to the opportunity Showcase provides, “I’m very excited to attend Showcase in January for the first time with Waterford Local Enterprise office. Really looking forward to seeing all the other amazing Irish businesses on show, meeting small business friends in person there as well as finding new stockists that will bring Natures Alchemy to new parts of the country.”


Kayleigh Sutton, Phat Poly

Kayleigh is a self-taught Maximalist Jewellery Designer, creating handcrafted colourful and fun jewellery in her home studio, which is located in Tramore in Co. Waterford. Phat Poly, creates eye-catching and kitsch earrings that were lightweight and guaranteed not to cause skin irritations. Commenting on her business, “What I love about how I run my business is how often I get to play with ideas and create new designs. Unlike mainstream jewellery brands, you can find new Phat Poly designs most months! This keeps things fresh and exciting for me and my customers.”


Kim Whyte, Pawpear

Pawpear exists to connect people through the slow art of the handwritten message. Its exquisitely colourful stationery is designed and made in Ireland, and inspired by its richness of culture, nature and heritage. Founder Kim plans to make the most of Showcase, “As a new brand it’s hugely important to have face-to-face discussions with customers, build relationships and get feedback on our product, pricing and packaging.  Showcase Ireland will hopefully help me meet lots of interesting retailers face-to-face rather than by email or over the phone.”


Working in partnership with the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) around the country set up a dedicated area within Showcase every year – the Local Enterprise Showcase – enabling up to 100 designers, manufacturers and craftspeople to sell directly to international buyers.

Jamie Whitty, Business Advisor at LEO Waterford said that Showcase is an invaluable stepping stone to any craft-maker or designer getting an audience with potential clients.  “With buyers from Ireland, Europe, the USA and Asia, Showcase is truly established as the must-see trade event.  For anyone in the fashion, jewellery, home or giftware business the event offers exposure to new international markets.

“Not only is their place subsidised by the LEO, in advance of the expo the businesses will avail of training and briefing days in order to help them perfect their pitch and give them the tools, advice and insights to take full advantage of this fantastic opportunity.”

If your business is in pre-start, start-up or established business phase and would like to find out more about what business support services are available from LEO Waterford visit or call to LEO Waterford offices at 35, The Mall, Waterford or the Civic Offices in Dungarvan.



Photo:  Karen Dempsey Photography

Fiona Fahy of Feed Me Mother, Lynn Shead of Natures Alchemy, Jamie Whitty LEO Business Advisor, Kim Whyte of Pawpear and Cayleigh Sutton of Phat Poly. 

New Head of Enterprise at LEO Waterford

“I hope my experience in building relationships will enable the Local Enterprise Office to play a key role.”

Local Enterprise Office Waterford has a new Head of Enterprise. Gareth Evans, who joined the LEO and started in his new role on November 6th brings a wealth of expertise in enterprise and economic development with him.

With 20 years’ experience working in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, Gareth is looking forward to this new challenge, “Every role and every organisation brings a new set of opportunities and challenges, but I find it always revolves around people. Waterford as a City and Council is on the cusp of some remarkable developments, but this is on the back of years of work by those who have strived to bring Waterford to this stage. The indigenous business community, the multinationals who have made this their home and the organisations who help make it happen, none more so than the team at the Local Enterprise Office.

“I’m excited to take up this position and help the LEO drive Waterford business forward over the next few years. I hope my experience in building relationships will enable the Local Enterprise Office to play a key role. I like to work closely with business partners, building networks across all stakeholders. The onus is on both the public and the private sectors to work together using their unique positions to benefit Waterford going forward.”

Most recently Gareth was the Chief Technical Advisor and Team Leader of a four-year SME development programme in Zambia, funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, operating under the Ministry of SME Development. He also led a team which developed a new national SME development policy and resulted in an increase in inward investment of over £83m, international trade contracts in excess of £25m and an increase in revenues of over 230% for participating businesses.

He was the lead economic development consultant on a programme for rural finance expansion impacting over 600,000 households & businesses, and managed global networks of economic development programmes and microfinance institutions.  “My work has included leading collaborative design workshops with local and national government, the private sector and general public, to produce economic development strategies, policy documents and implementation plans that meet the needs of local communities and businesses in complex and changing environments.”

Gareth can be contacted at Local Enterprise Office Waterford on the Mall in the City or Civic offices in Dungarvan, or via email on if you have any specific queries.

Local Enterprise Office Waterford is here to help you start a business, expand an existing business or reach new markets. It provides advice, information and supports in starting up or growing your business as part of a network of 31 Local Enterprise Offices across Ireland.


Local Enterprise Office Waterford to celebrate National Women’s Enterprise Day

With the National Women’s Enterprise Day planned for October 19th, Local Enterprise Office Waterford, in collaboration with Network Ireland Waterford branch, Dungarvan West Waterford Chamber and Waterford Chamber will host a networking event at the Mount Congreve House, that promises to inspire and educate the next generation of female entrepreneurs.

This year’s “Empowering Business Together” themed day starts with a welcome reception at 3pm and an opportunity for attendees to get a Professional Headshot taken.

The event will kick off at 3.30pm with a ‘Meet the Media’ panel hosted by Nichola Beresford which will cover how to approach the media, the different mediums and what you should have prepared when approaching the media.

This is followed by afternoon tea in the magnificent setting of the Chinese Room in Mount Congreve House.

Finally, there will be an interactive Empowering Business Together Workshop which will allow attendees to choose what topics are discussed. Participants will be asked what they would like to hear on arrival, and this facilitated workshop will be tailored to the audiences’ needs.

Waterford’s National Women’s Enterprise Day Ambassador, Christine Murphy is founder and Creative Director of Urban Aran, an independent Irish Knitwear business in 2018. Based in Waterford, Urban Aran encapsulates the essence of her brand. The term “Urban” reflects her deep appreciation for urban landscapes. It is the imagery from cityscapes and professional street art in her home city of Waterford to minute detail including peeling paint on walls, which inspires her drawings and designs.

Christine was proud to be asked to be an ambassador for this year’s event, “I have interacted with the LEO for years and attended the NWED before, so was delighted to be asked to be an ambassador. The programme this year as always is geared to support women in business, and I’m thrilled to be involved.”

Brid Kirby, Acting Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Waterford said that the event will be of benefit to any female entrepreneur who is either thinking of starting a business or already in business, “The panellists at this event are highly renowned for assisting businesses in unleashing their potential and identifying opportunities for growth.  Supporting women in enterprise and addressing the key challenges confronting women in business is paramount to ensuring female entrepreneurs realise their full business potential.

“At Local Enterprise Office Waterford we have a broad range of support services, including events like this that enable entrepreneurs to take their business to the next level. National Women’s Enterprise Day not only showcases the work of successful female entrepreneurs, but also supports and fosters female entrepreneurship by encouraging more women to start their own business.”

National Women’s Enterprise Day is Ireland’s largest female enterprise event. It promotes, encourages and stimulates female entrepreneurship across Ireland. It is designed and led by women and is an annual high point in promoting entrepreneurship to women in Ireland. The Local Enterprise Office along with Enterprise Ireland provide a wide range of help, incentives, training, and development programmes to female entrepreneurs.

While help is available all year round, National Women’s Enterprise Day allows the LEO to turn the spotlight on female entrepreneurship. It attracts widespread media attention. It opens the prospect of entrepreneurship to women who may not have considered it before. It highlights what support is available. It provides valuable networking opportunities and connections with industry experts. And it celebrates the achievements of women in enterprise.

It tackles the real-life subjects affecting women in business. While finance, marketing, innovation, and new product development are important, so too are family, well-being, and mental health and these all have their place in National Women’s Enterprise Day.

National Women’s Enterprise event takes place from 3pm to 6.30pm in Mount Congreve House, Waterford on Thursday, October 19th.  Tickets cost €20.  To book your place visit . This event is a collaboration between Local Enterprise Office Waterford, Network Ireland Waterford branch, Dungarvan West Waterford Chamber & Waterford Chamber.

Photos by Noel Browne

Tamara Sheehan, Enterprise Executive, Local Enterprise Office Waterford, Brid Kirby, Acting Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Waterford, Lynda Lawton, Operations Officer, Waterford Chamber, Jenny Beresford, CEO, Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber, and Mailo Power Founder/Owner of Monkey Cups.

Glas Awards Launched!


Local Enterprise Office Waterford launches the inaugural Glas Awards, promoting sustainability in business in Waterford.

The awards, in association with Waterford City and County Council aim to recognise and celebrate micro businesses in County Waterford who have made significant advances in bringing green principles into their business model.

Launched by Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway, Acting Head of Enterprise at the Local Enterprise Office Waterford, Brid Kirby, and Climate Action Coordinator with Waterford City and County Council, Gráinne Kennedy, these awards will showcase what Waterford business is doing to adopt sustainability policies, in a practical sense.

The awards are open to small and medium sizes businesses based in Waterford County. The Green Micro Enterprise of the Year is open to all with employees of 10 or less, while the Green SME of the Year is open to those between 11 and 20 employees.

The mayor sees this as another step towards Waterford’s green action targets.  “Waterford has been actively working towards carbon neutrality and preparing for the impacts of climate change. Through policy measures and the implementation of both adaptation and mitigation projects, we can effect real change.

“Every aspect of the community has a role to play, and these awards will highlight and reward the micro businesses who have started to play their part.”

Each winner will receive a cash prize of €2,500 and a themed trophy.

Brid is extremely proud of these new Awards, “We want to recognise the extraordinary contribution and commitment that some Waterford companies now make towards growing a greener future in Waterford’s business environment.

“We have an opportunity to promote the conscientious practices of these Waterford businesses and hopefully encourage more to adopt a similar attitude. A green agenda does not have to increase costs in business. It often increases business, while saving money in the long run. It is an investment in their business and our future.

While Grainne hopes they will inspire other businesses, “We hope that this event connects companies and teams from a diverse variety of business sectors to exchange ideas and celebrate achievements in sustainability. We are proud to again be part of an event that highlights leadership and sustainability in green practices in Waterford.”

The entry portal is now open on Waterford’s Local Enterprise Office website and remains so until 20th September 2023. The Glas Awards Final which will be held in Grow HQ, Waterford City on 17th October 2023.

For further information follow this link, contact LEO Waterford at 051 849905 or email

Local Artists set for First Flight!


In Spring of this year, the Local Enterprise Office Waterford invited submissions from artists and small craft businesses to apply for the First Flight Enterprise programme at the Kite Design Studio in the heart of Waterford’s Viking Triangle.

This year’s successful candidates are Michelle Dunne (Strong Roots Jewellery), Lisa Hodge (Totes Upcycled) and Tanya Dobbyn (Clayful Creations by Tanya).

Kite Design Studio is an innovative space based in Waterford City and designed to enable the sharing of knowledge, resources and facilities for craft businesses.  Through an ethos of collaboration where businesses can connect support and grow, coworking spaces offer you the opportunity to bring structure to your day while increasing productivity and is a great alternative to working from home.

First introduced in 2013, this year’s First Flight programme provides a professional workspace, mentoring and practical business advice to creatives in a bustling, collaborative co-working space for six months commencing in June 2023.

To date, dozens of small craft businesses, artists and graduates of Waterford VTOS (Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme) have availed of First Flight placements, enabling them to develop their businesses commercially.

Michelle Dunne is one of those selected for this year’s First Flight placement. Michelle, originally from Tramore, now living in Ferrybank, is an artist and metalworker, and is planning to make the most of this opportunity. “The craft industry can be a lonely job, so places like Kite Design Studios are extremely important. Designers working alongside each other, inspires and increases knowledge in the whole design process.”

Jamie Whitty, Business Advisor with LEO Waterford said, “Over the years we have seen some inspirational artists and small craft businesses travel through this programme since 2013.”

As First Flight co-ordinator with the LEO she sees the benefit of the programme, “Waterford’s tradition in the arts and abundance of artistic talent cannot be denied, be it fashion designers, sculptors, jewellery makers or crystal craftspeople.  The First Flight programme gives talented individuals the resources and assistance to cultivate their businesses and gain from the experience of their peers in a shared creative space.”

If you are an artist or small craft business and would like to avail of a dedicated workspace, mentoring and business advice, speak to your Local Enterprise Office about the First Flight Enterprise programme. Alternatively visit or call into Local Enterprise Office Waterford at 35, The Mall.


Photo by David Murphy Studio:

Tanya Dobbyn (Clayful Creations by Tanya), Lisa Hodge (Totes Upcycled), Jamie Whitty (Business Advisor with LEO Waterford) and Michelle Dunne (Strong Roots Jewellery).

Expat Taxes wins the 2023 Waterford Digital Awards

Waterford Local Enterprise Office, together with Waterford City and County Council, is pleased to announce Expat Taxes as the 2023 Waterford Digital Awards Overall Winner.

The ceremony, which took place at Dooley’s Hotel on Friday 9th June, aimed to recognise and reward SMEs based in County Waterford who have developed their ecommerce and digital platforms as part of their product offering. The Awards were open to all businesses with less than 50 full time employees based in County Waterford.

Expat Taxes, the overall winner, is a boutique online tax practice that works with employees and their employers when they are moving to or from Ireland. It offers tax advisory and tax compliance services. Its aim is to make taxes less stressful and to help its clients navigate the complex work of international tax.

Stephanie Wickham, owner, was obviously delighted to win the award, “It’s such a thrill to win this award, we’re genuinely very surprised. There were so many fantastic local businesses shortlisted. After last year’s awards we applied for a Trading Online Voucher from the LEO and used it to upgrade our website. It has certainly increased our business and I’m sure made the difference in winning this award. We’d like to thank the team at the LEO for all their help over the years.”

The winners of each award category were:

  1. Best Business to Business Website – Learn Right Ltd.
  2. Best Business to Customer Website – Phoenix Mind and Body Performance
  3. Best E Commerce Website – Hill’s Standard
  4. Best Export Website – Expat Taxes Ltd.
  5. Best in social media – Pepper Hustle

The winner of each category received €1,000 towards technical advice, photography, videography and marketing. The overall winner received €2,500 in cash.

Brid Kirby, Acting Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Waterford was extremely impressed with the standard of entries, “In what is only our 2nd Waterford Digital Awards I’m delighted to see the increase in entries and standard of entries this year. Following a review of last year’s competition, we tweaked the categories and qualifying, and it paid off. Each of the category winners were excellent and it was so difficult to choose a winner. Though Stephanie and the team at Expat Taxes thoroughly deserve their award.

“Through training and Trading Online Vouchers many of our clients have transitioned to include digital sales and promotional platforms. This development has reaped financial rewards for many, while these awards are an opportunity to give them some public acclaim also.”


Photo by Colin Shanahan – DigiCol Photography –

Local Enterprise Office Waterford launch the 2023 Digital Awards

Following the success of last year’s competition, Local Enterprise Office Waterford, together with Waterford County Council have announced the 2023 entries portal is now open

The Awards aim to recognise and reward SMEs based in County Waterford who have developed their e-commerce and digital platforms as part of their product offering. The Awards are open to all businesses with less than 50 full-time employees based in County Waterford.

The award categories are:

  1. Best E Commerce Website
  2. Best Business to Business Website
  3. Best Business to Customer Website
  4. Best Export Website
  5. Best in social media
  • Overall Website/social media of the Year

Each category will have up to four shortlisted entrants who will be selected after an evaluation of their website/social media platforms by independent expert judges.

The winner of each category will receive €1,000 towards technical advice, photography, videography, and marketing. The overall winner will receive €2,500 in cash.

Jacqui Gaule, Acting Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Waterford commented at the launch of the awards, “We were blown award with the volume and quality of entries in our inaugural competition last year. We’ve made some slight changes this year, opening it up to more businesses in Waterford. Through training and Trading Online Vouchers many of our clients have transitioned to include digital sales and promotional platforms. These awards are an opportunity to reward those who have made the extra effort.”

Last year’s winner, Mark Bergin of Coffee House Lane encourages anyone with a digital platform to apply, “Any modern retail business needs an effective digital sales and promotions platform. Our website is an extension of our business and our family’s attitude to our work. We were thrilled to win, what was the first Waterford Digital Awards trophy.”

The entry portal is now open and remains so until 26th April 2023. Finalists will receive two free tickets to the Waterford Digital Awards, which will held in Dooleys Hotel on 9th June.

For further information follow this link, contact LEO Waterford at 051 849905 or email

Expressions of Interest sought to serve on Waterford LEO’s Evaluation and Approvals Committee (EVAC)

The Local Enterprise Office, Waterford is seeking Expressions of Interest from suitable individuals to serve (pro bono) on its Evaluation and Approvals Committee (EVAC). This
7-person committee meets 4 to 6 times each year to evaluate applications for financial support from people with a business idea, to start up businesses and for businesses that are growing, based in Waterford, that meet certain criteria.

We are seeking Individuals with specific areas of business expertise in
• entrepreneurship,
• knowledge of markets/sectors/technology
to join the EVAC.

If you wish to be considered to join a panel of suitable qualified individuals, please submit your CV to Ms. Jacqui Gaule, A/Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Waterford, 35 The Mall, Waterford or via e-mail at before 20th April, 2023.

Waterford Student set for National Enterprise final

Local Enterprise Office Waterford has announced that a winning teenager entrepreneur, Nathan Sfendji from Waterpark College will represent Waterford at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme National Finals on Friday 5th May.

The winning business, named Hart Island is an online fashion retailer with clothing made in the EU using innovative and new to market techniques. The clothing is made from 100% organic cotton and environmentally sustainable. He also mixes recycled cotton into newer products, further reducing reliance on organic materials.

An estimated 850 students from 14 Waterford schools took part in the annual programme this year. 120 took part in the Waterford Final on March 7th as part of Local Enterprise Week, which was held at the Park Hotel in Dungarvan.

The enterprise education initiative, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country, saw over 24,000 students from just under 500 secondary schools across the country take part in 2021 / 2022.  The programme supports students to create, design and market their own business, all with the hope of reaching the National Finals.

The Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr John O’Leary, spoke at the event about the Council’s long-standing commitment to youth enterprise and the outstanding efforts of the whole team at the Local Enterprise Office in Waterford.

Waterford has a strong history in this competition, winning awards on numerous occasions, including the overall Best Senior Enterprise Award, and hopes are high for more success this year.

Speaking at the county final, Acting Head of Enterprise, Jacqui Gaule of Local Enterprise Office Waterford congratulated the students, saying,

“We have a very successful student enterprise programme here in Waterford. By fostering an enterprising culture in the classroom, the Local Enterprise Offices are working with teachers and schools to help nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. Our national finalists are excellent ambassadors for the programme and we wish them the very best of luck on the May 5th. We will all be there to support them.  What our students are learning from the programme is that with the right supports and encouragement, they can take an idea from the classroom and develop it into a real-life business. The skills they learn along the way, such as business planning, market research, selling and teamwork, will help them become more entrepreneurial throughout their future careers”.

Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 300,000 students have taken part, learning key skills on how to create a business idea, start a business and grow a business.  The Student Enterprise Programme also has new range of online resources for 2022 / 2023 at, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.

Further information around the Student Enterprise Programme is available from and by searching #studententerprise on social media.


LEO -TYAwards – 154 John O’Leary (Mayor Waterford City & County Council), Jacqui Gaulle (Acting Head of Enterprise LEO Waterford) and David Walsh (Business Advisor LEO Waterford) presenting 1st Prize to Nathan Sfendji of Hart Island Clothing, representing Waterpark College, Waterford at the LEO County Final Student Enterprise Awards at The Park Hotel, Dungarvan on Tuesday 7th March 2023. Photo: Karen Dempsey Photography        

Waterford Local Enterprise Office is ‘Open for Business’ during Local Enterprise Week

Local Enterprise Office Waterford has a large number events planned for Local Enterprise Week, March 6th to 10th, none more important than its ‘Open for Business’ panel discussions.

On Thursday, 9th March 2023, LEO Waterford will host a series of panel discussions looking at Waterford’s future in terms of work, enterprise and innovation. This event will be facilitated by local entrepreneur and well-known presenter Nichola Beresford. Also taking part are some of Waterford’s best-known entrepreneurs, thinkers and policy makers.

This event is intended for a forward-thinking Waterford, a Waterford that is open for business, attracting skills, investment and people. A Waterford that provides opportunities for entrepreneurship while ensuring a quality of life for all, with community at the heart of everything.

Running from 8.30am to 1pm, the event leads off with a panel discuss on ‘Building Waterford’s Future’, discussing the projects and programmes which are being planned and delivered to act as drivers for growth in the region.  The panel includes, Michael Walsh, CEO, Waterford City & County Council, Brian McGee, Regional Development Manager, IDA Ireland, Martin Corkery, Regional Director, Enterprise Ireland and Kathyrn Kiely, Vice President External Affairs, SETU.

This is followed by a discussion on Business Opportunities in Waterford. The panel includes, Conor Walsh, Visor MMC, Mailo Power, Monkey Reusable Products and Liam Dunne, Klearcom, and they will discuss how they saw an opening in the market and successfully changed or developed their offering to create a viable business.

The keynote speaker on the day is Gerry Duffy, of the Gerry Duffy Academy, one of Ireland’s foremost motivational speakers on optimising performance.

Gerry is followed by a panel discussion on innovation and the processes and supports available to increase efficiencies, market share and customer satisfaction in business. It includes, Dermot O’Reilly, Zenith Consulting, Ronan Cleary, Eagle Dreams and Sheila Gallogly, Marla.

The final panel of the day will discuss the Evolution of the Workforce. How employees play a major role in the success of business. This panel will discuss the shifts in hiring trends, remote work changes and employee expectations, and includes Feargal O’Neill, Alternative Thinking Processes for Organisations (ATPO), Ria White, Ria White HR & Training and Oren Byrne, Totem.

There is no doubt that the world of business is evolving at a rapid pace. Now the challenge is to prepare for what happens next or, maybe even more importantly, to be proactive in ensuring that our futures are the ones we want.

This seminar will look at Waterford’s plans for the next 5 – 10 years and examine what we can do, in the here and now to support that vision and develop a Waterford that promotes investment in ourselves and in others.

To register for this or any of the Local Enterprise Week events taking place in Waterford city and county from March 6th to 10th, or if you would like to find out more about what business support services are available visit

Photo:  Local Enterprise Office staff launching Enterprise Week.

Brid Kirby – Senior Enterprise Development Officer, David Walsh – Acting Senior Enterprise Development Officer, Maureen Fitzsimmons – Assistant Business Advisor & Kevin Higgins – Enterprise Administrator

Online is key to Finders Keepers growth

“The Trading Online Voucher gave us the means to build this fantastic website.”

Lisa Connolly and Luke Marsh are the founders and owners of Finders Keepers in Waterford City. While her background is in fashion and textile design, Lisa developed a love for retail when working abroad with her partner Luke, “I loved the experience of walking through the doors into someone’s shop and seeing how they have imagined their space.”

Finders Keepers is based in Waterford City, offering unique gift & homeware products and ideas. “We signed the lease on an old butcher shop in September 2017 and opened the door to Finders Keepers in November! My amazing little sister Beth joined us later that month & has been working with us since. A small family run business through and through!”

Following their opening they were very active on social media. They didn’t have the funds to advertise so it was their only way of promoting the business. “I was really just doing this with the idea of people from Waterford in my mind. I wanted them to come into town and find our shop. But our community quickly grew outside of Waterford. Our following was growing and suddenly we had customers in all parts of Ireland. But it was very frustrating, not having a website.”

Lisa met with the Local Enterprise Office in Waterford, who recommended a ‘Trading Online Voucher’ in order to get to the next phase of growth for Finders Keepers. “We found local web designers Transpose Digital. They were absolute pros and really worked hard with us to achieve the vision we had. If we were going to build a website, it needed to be done right and to a standard that could sit alongside with some of the bigger retailers. The TOV gave us the means to build this fantastic website.”

A Trading Online Voucher (TOV) is a financial incentive developed by the Local Enterprise Office for small businesses with no more than 10 employees, less than €2m turnover and who have been trading for at least 6 months. This voucher is designed to stimulate the applicant business to develop their online trading presence. The voucher is administered through your Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and takes the form of matched funding where the maximum amount payable will be €2,500 or 50% of the eligible cost (whichever is the lesser), exclusive of VAT.

They launched the website in November 2019, just a few months before the pandemic. “I was never so grateful for the website during this time. We were suddenly busier than ever before. It was a crazy time. I live less than 1km from the shop so could walk here each day and continue dispatching orders. It was a hugely challenging time, taking on such a workload alone but our business grew exponentially.”

Fast forward to today, they have just moved into a new premises on Michael Street in the City, that is much bigger. They have a whole floor in the building dedicated to online and have built a studio for photoshoots to improve their digital offering on the website and through social media. The aim is to continue to grow the website within Ireland but start moving into the European market.

“Our bricks and clicks business model is working very well. I don’t think you can have one without the other. On a day where it may be quiet in town, our website will pick up the slack. We also have a large customer base from Waterford City who may be time poor and will use our click and collect service, ensuing their gift is wrapped and paid for on collection. It works very well.”

Irish consumers spend around €850,000 per hour, 24 hours a day online. With the trend ever increasing towards online spending it is estimated that only 30% of small Irish businesses are engaged in any meaningful way in e-Commerce sales. For businesses employing less than ten people this percentage could be even lower. It is now believed that of online purchases made in Ireland that 70% of these are done in overseas markets.

Applicants interested in a Trading Online Voucher can now apply online using a link on Waterford’s Local Enterprise Office website. Those wishing to avail of a voucher, must attend an obligatory information seminar. At each seminar attendees will be informed of the purpose of the scheme and how best to use and get value from the application of the voucher. You can book the next information seminar via the website.

Please reach out to your local LEO team by emailing if you any questions in relation to your application, quotes or Information Seminar.

Finders Keepers can be reached by