Wicklow’s Glenhaven Foods wins top gong for Family Business of the Year

Arklow-based firm founded over 30 years ago also picked up three other accolades on the night, as awards handed out in 22 categories

The team from Glenhaven Foods, who won the overall award

The winners of the 2023 Irish Family Business Awards have been announced, with Co Wicklow company, Glenhaven Foods, named Family Business of the Year.

After an intense selection process, across 22 separate award categories, the results were finally revealed at a glittering awards ceremony held in Dublin’s Mansion House on November 3.

Close to 400 attendees flocked to the glamorous gala dinner, hosted by Today FM’s Matt Cooper, for the event, that celebrates the passion and hard work shown by the many diverse family businesses across the country.

Hailed by Michael Carey, Chairman Enterprise Ireland, as “the backbone” of the Irish economy, where over a million people are employed, the vast array of family firms represented were praised for driving Irish industry and helping communities in towns and villages thrive.

Dave Flynn, Director of Business Networks at Skillnet Ireland said: “I think family owned businesses are the heart of villages and towns across the country, they are a key ingredient of what makes the community a community.”

As well as securing the top accolade of Family Business of the Year, Arklow-based company, Glenhaven Foods, picked up an impressive four awards on the night, including Innovative Family Business of the Year, a Family Business Longevity Award and International Family Business of the Year.

Since it was established more than 30 years ago, by husband-and-wife team David and Evanne Cahil, the frozen food business has gone from strength to strength, creating high quality, oven-ready meals.

With a great team with us we went from strength to strength, but nothing would have happened without the amazing staff we have

On receiving the award, Co-Founder Evanne Cahill paid tribute to invaluable contribution made by the staff at Glenhaven in making the family firm such a success.

She said: “In 1986 my husband David and myself started Glenhaven foods, thankfully with a great team with us we went from strength to strength, but nothing would have happened without the amazing staff we have. They are the power behind the business.”

There were more than 300 entries to the awards, representing family-owned businesses in Ireland throughout all sectors and industries and, in evaluating the entries, the judging panel of industry experts, used a comprehensive points-based scoring system dictated by the criteria for each category to select Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in each section.

Other winners on the night included Co Galway-based Standún who took home Gold in the Best Small Family Business Category as well as Wilsons Auctions, Co Antrim, winning Gold for Family Business CSR Award and OBW Technologies in Co Limerick who took Gold for Fastest Growing Family Business.

Hospitality, farming and healthcare were just some of the sectors represented but, as well as celebrating best in class under category of industry, awards were also handed out in recognition of other achievements, such as the Rising Star Award, Sponsored by Today FM which was won by Co-Dublin based TheCleaningCompany.ie, and the Sustainable Family Business of the Year, sponsored by Skillnet, which was awarded to Killary Adventure Company, Co Galway.

Long embraced

The awards, now in the fifth year, were organised by Ashville Media Group. “We’d like to say thank you to everyone who attended the 2023 Family Business Awards,” said Jill Thornton, Senior Events Manager at Ashville Media. “It was our pleasure to honour all the winners with prizes and celebrate the effort they put into their successful businesses.

“The Irish have long embraced, and will continue to support family businesses in Ireland, because they believe that all business is personal. On our small island, where everyone is just a schoolmate or relative away from knowing each other, relationships are considered a precious commodity and we value the familiarity and trust that comes with dealing with a family-run enterprise.”

The nominees and worthy winners were hailed by JJ O’Connell, Chairman and Director of Plato and Family Business Ireland as “the best in class”. “They are those who aspire to be the best and do the best,” he said. “It’s a pace we should all follow.”