Cork Business of the Year awards launched as city looks ahead to a brighter future

Cork Business of the Year awards launched as city looks ahead to a brighter future

Eoin O'Sulivan, president of the Cork Business Association, at the launch of the Cork Business of the Year Awards, which will be held on April 23 at the Vienna Woods Hotel.

At the launch of the 65th Cork Business of the Year Awards, CBA President Eoin O’Sullivan and vice-president Kevin Herlihy praised all businesses in Cork for the tenacity, perseverance and resilience they have shown over the past two years.

The CBA Awards, which are run in partnership with sponsors JCD, Centra and Peninsula, and media partner The Irish Examiner, recognise the outstanding contribution of businesses and individuals working diligently across all sectors of business in Cork City.

The CBA Cork Business of the Year Awards are the perfect way to acknowledge business achievements and celebrate the accomplishments of the companies that will drive Cork forward into the future.

There are 12 individual categories to choose from, including a new award this year for Sustainable Business Innovation, and each year a Champion of Cork is also recognised.

The awards are free to enter, and nominations are now open online at The deadline for submissions is 5pm on March 21.

Eoin O’Sullivan, President of Cork Business Association and a Director of M&P O’Sullivan, said:  “Businesses in Cork have led the way nationally and shown that in the face of a global pandemic, you need to focus on what really matters. Businesses in all sectors including retail, hospitality, and services have faced and overcome the many challenges posed by Covid-19 restrictions”. 

Kevin Herlihy CBA vice-president and co-owner of The Herlihy Centra Group, remarked: “As we enter what we hope will be the final phase of this pandemic, businesses in Cork are looking forward to a future of renewed growth and creativity born from the lessons we have learned over the past 2 years.

“With that in mind, we are delighted to launch the 2022 Cork Business of the Year Awards, which will hopefully recognise and reward business owners who go above and beyond to ensure that Cork city is the best place to work and live. It has never been more important to highlight businesses who are leading the way and setting precedents for others to aspire to.

“This year, in recognition of the importance of sustainable business practices to our future prosperity we have also launched a new Sustainable Business Innovation Award, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland, to showcase businesses who have prioritised and embraced sustainable business innovations and are using these new strategies to drive sustainable growth.” 

The 12 individual award categories for 2022 include:

Sustainable Business Innovation: Open to all businesses in Cork City who have prioritised and embraced sustainable business innovation practices and are now using these strategies to drive sustainable business growth. Entrants will need to demonstrate that new strategies are significantly more sustainable than previous practices and set their company on a path to a more sustainable future.

Best New Business in Cork, sponsored by LEO Cork City: Open to all businesses that have been founded or are new to Cork since 1st January 2016. Entrants will be asked to explain their business and to demonstrate how they have translated a great idea into a viable and successful business venture. They will also be asked to outline their plans for the future.

Best Cork Family Business, sponsored by AIB: Open to all family owned and run businesses in the greater Cork city area. Your business must be managed by family members and you must be able to demonstrate the involvement of at least two generations of family members who are working in the business.

Best Cork Hotel, sponsored by Irish Hotels Federation, Cork branch: The Best Hotel award acknowledges excellence in service and accommodation. Entrants will demonstrate high class, flawless service in a comfortable, quality establishment, while both meeting and exceeding guest expectations, and how they have helped to promote Cork as a destination nationally and internationally.

Best Cork Restaurant, sponsored by The English Market: The best Restaurant award acknowledges excellence in quality, service, price and ambiance. Entrants will demonstrate high standards in food quality, cost, efficiency, customer service, imagination, attention to detail, marketing and how well the establishment functions as a business.

Best Cork Café, sponsored by The English Market: The best Café award will recognise excellence in customer service, business innovation, premises ambiance and atmosphere. Entrants will demonstrate high standards in food quality, cost, efficiency, imagination, attention to detail, marketing and how they have raised the profile of their business in this ever increasingly competitive sector.

Best Cork VFI Pub, sponsored by Vintners Federation Cork: The award for Best Cork Pub will be awarded to the pub that, in the opinion of the judges, demonstrates ‘best in class’ in the areas of innovation, creativity, ambiance, operational excellence and customer service. Open to VFI Members only.

Best Cork Retail Business, sponsored by Cork City Council: The best Cork Retail Business will be awarded to the business that routinely strives for the highest standards across a number of key metrics such as customer service, value, visual merchandising, premises maintenance, marketing, and adaptability. High standards are particularly important given the very severe challenges currently facing Ireland’s retail industry. It is critical that the retail industry plays its part in consistently improving its offering to attract more customers, keep retail workers in jobs and simultaneously keep Cork city centre vibrant which in turn will re-engage citizens and customers alike.

Best Tourism Art Event, sponsored by Failte Ireland: This award is designed to recognise and reward an organisation, attraction, business or event that has excelled in tourism, contributing to growing tourist numbers and /or the visitor experience in Cork.

Best Professional Services Business, sponsored by B2B Signs: This category is open to all businesses that provide a professional business service in the greater Cork city area. They include banking, legal, accounting, HR, recruitment, PR, marketing, architects, financial advisers, engineers, consultants, training providers, strategic advice etc. T

hey can be any organisation or profession that offers customised, knowledge-based services to clients. Entrants must be able to explain what their professional business service is and demonstrate their commitment to customer service excellence within their particular service provided.

Best Cork Digital Business, sponsored by Cork Airport: This award will be presented to a company or organisation that can practically demonstrate how they have embraced the digital age and built their company around, or adapted their business strategy to adopt a more future focused, digitally powered approach.

This category is open to all businesses, regardless of their stage in the business life-cycle.

Champion of Cork Award, sponsored by MTU: This award recognises a Corkonian whom the judges believe has made a real difference to Cork and its people, be it through driving business, their contribution to the arts, their charitable work, their efforts in developing our city or their passion and drive for promoting all things Cork.

The CBA President’s Dinner and Cork Business of the Year Awards is always a highlight for local businesses. With the easing of restrictions, CBA is delighted to announce that this year’s event will take place in Vienna Woods Hotel on Saturday, April 23. 

Top chefs and award-winning producers will again unite to create a menu, based on the best Cork produce, that will enthrall and delight the taste-buds. Tickets for this “must-attend” event are always in huge demand and will go on sale shortly. Further details on the event will be updated on the CBA website.

Last year the Cork Business Association recognised some notable achievements, with Kilkenny and Diana O’Mahony Jewellers being named the overall winners in the large category and SME category respectively. Prof. Mary Horgan of UCC received the Champion of Cork Award for her outstanding contribution to healthcare and in particular for her work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Eoin O Sullivan continued: “We very much look forward to receiving this year’s submissions and would like to encourage all businesses located within the greater Cork city area to consider entering these prestigious awards.

“The benefits of being part of the awards process are many, including association with the awards, public recognition for your hard work, plus marketing and networking opportunities. We would also like to sincerely thank all of our sponsors, in particular our event sponsors JCD and Centra, event partner Peninsula, and media partner The Irish Examiner.” 

To enter the Cork Business of the Year Awards 2020, your business must be based in the greater Cork city area or be a current member of the Cork Business Association.

An experienced panel of leading business and civic leaders will provide independent judging and the shortlist will be announced for public vote in the last week of March. 

Three businesses will be shortlisted in each category and the public will have the opportunity to vote for the winners. For further information see

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