The Annual County and City Enterprise Boards National Enterprise Award were held last night

A MAYO-BASED agribusiness run by three young brothers last night won the 15th annual County and City Enterprise Boards National Enterprise Award.

Agrispread, a Ballyhaunis-based agricultural machinery manufacturer which exports equipment such as lime and fertiliser spreaders, slurry tankers and bale feeders to seven countries, was set up in 2007 by David, Dermot and Marcus Murphy. It exports 85 per cent of its products internationally and employs 10 people full time, with plans to expand its workforce to 25 by the end of 2012.

After the ceremony in Dublin Castle last night, David Murphy (28) said he was “still in a bit of shock”, but said he and his brothers were delighted at the win which he described as “huge” and something that would have a positive impact on the business.

“I left college in 2006 and I suppose everyone else my age, 98 per cent of the lads I went to school with, are abroad, so to be here and not only working but actually employing other people is just brilliant,” he said, adding the business is a family effort with each brother bringing a different type of expertise. Their father had been making machinery since the 1970s.

Minister of State for Small Business John Perry said the National Enterprise Awards scheme was “unique in its focus on the grassroots of local enterprise”. Enterprise Boards had worked at promoting an enterprise culture and developing practical supports, resulting in the maintenance of 44,000 jobs, he said. He congratulated the finalists and said they were testament to the fact Ireland, with a rate of 8.6 per cent of established entrepreneurs among the adult population, was well ahead of the US and EU averages.

He said plans for a temporary partial credit guarantee scheme were well advanced, while a microfinance fund to provide loans to small firms was being developed. He hoped to formalise proposals on this before the end of this year, the aim of which was to stimulate lending to sustainable micro-enterprises employing up to 10 people with loans of up to €25,000.

Other category award winners included FleetConnect, a firm providing wireless communication products to the transport sector, which won Best Start-Up Business Award; Softouch Technologies, which specialises in off-the-shelf database management systems and which took Best Exporting Business Award, and Drombeg Premium Irish Spirit, which produces and markets a liqueur for sale here and abroad and which took Best Innovation in Product Development Award.

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