It may have been a scaled back event this year, but that doesn’t mean the Kilkenny Chamber Business Awards failed to pack a punch.
The global pandemic ended hopes of continuing the annual black tie gala celebration of local success with the usual handing out of about 20 accolades.
But two well-known names were still feted with the bestowing of key prizes in the Chamber’s recognition of longstanding local businesspeople who are part of the fabric of Kilkenny’s business community and who have made an extraordinary contribution to Kilkenny’s brand and economy.
Bobby Kerr was declared victor of the President’s Award. His family is synonymous with Kilkenny, his Dad being part of the consortium that built the Newpark Hotel, while Bobby himself is an established entrepreneur. These days he’s best known for his roles in Insomnia and Newstalk.
His media career began though as a ‘Dragon’ where he participated in the first four series of Dragon’s Den and still retains an interest in eight businesses that he backed on the show. A proud Kilkenny man, he has always maintained strong links with his native city.
Kilkenny Chamber President Colin Ahern told KCLR “The President’s Award is an accolade that has been presented annually, since 2012, by the Chamber President to someone who is well-known, who has a connection to Kilkenny and who has made an important and significant contributions in business and community, in Kilkenny and nationally”.
He adds “This year’s recipient Bobby Kerr is a proud Kilkenny native, who has had a hugely successfully career in a number of industries both in Ireland and abroad. Bobby stood out to me personally, as I’m involved in the hospitality industry myself and I believe that he has always been a great ambassador and example to all Kilkenny people and entrepreneurs in particular.”
While one of the county’s most amazing matriarchs, Kitty Donohoe of Goresbridge Horse Sales, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Kitty was the driving force behind the family business which was started in 1968 by her husband, Ned. His untimely death in 1978 placed her, a non-horsey 42 year old mother of nine children with another baby on the way, at the helm of what has become Europe’s largest auctioneer of sport horses.
Kitty was the first woman appointed to the Irish Horse Board. She drove Goresbridge Horse Sales forward, while raising her young family, displaying a model of can-do attitude to all who did business with her. She is a constant inspiration to her family, members of which have also proved their own acumen through their respective outlets, as well as to all who know her.
Kilkenny Chamber, with awards sponsor State Street, made the announcement via a special supplement in the Kilkenny People newspaper and also on KCLR Live on Wednesday when Eimear Ní Bhraonáin was joined by Chamber President Colin Ahern as well as the two winners.
Listen back here (from 46:50 onwards):
Then on Thursday, our John Purcell, who usually features enterprising individuals on his weekly show The Bottom Line every Saturday morning from 9am, presented a special programme dedicated to the awardees.
Listen back here:
Kilkenny Chamber has selected a charity partner, St. Vincent de Paul Kilkenny and is encouraging people to support it and give generously via its website (click here)
St. Vincent de Paul is a long standing organisation which focuses on practical approaches to dealing with poverty and alleviating its effects on individuals and families. Those involved strives to achieve social justice and equality of opportunity for all citizens.