Local firms honoured at SFA awards

TWO local firms were shortlisted for last week’s Innovator award at the SFA National Small Business Awards 2011.

TWO local firms were shortlisted for last week’s Innovator award at the SFA National Small Business Awards 2011.

Multihog, Brewery Business Park, Ardee Road Dundalk and Easydry, Butterly Business Park, Coes Road, Dundalk were both recognised for their respective innovative products with the former being highly commended by the judges.

Multihog were acknowledged for their innovative multi-purpose implement carrier which has become a hit throughout Europe and is set to follow suit in the US and Canada as well.

The Multihog MH90 proved instrumental in keeping the Port Tunnel open during Ireland’s blizzard-like conditions before Christmas and has come a long way since being co-founded by Jim McAdam and his daughter Ruth in 2008.

The company started out with two design engineers and a mechanic for prototyping but has since expanded to employ 20 people, with the team designing and manufacturing 500 machines a year.

Ruth McAdam says the idea for the Multihog MH90 stemmed from an opening her father Jim had observed in the gardening industry for machines working on slopes.

After a lot of research in mainland Europe, the company then invested its energies into coming up with a multi-purpose instrument carrier that could be used all-year round for municipal maintenance.

Among those using the completely unique machine are local authorities, contractors, airports, golf courses and road maintenance companies.

Multihog already have dealers and distributors in Holland, Belgium, Poland, Germany and the UK with plans to launch in the US and Canada early next year.

Easydry were also acknowledged for their eco-friendly disposable towel that cuts down on laundering costs for hair salons and spas.

Since launching in 2005, it has helped a wide range of businesses both in Ireland and worldwide reduce their costs and contribute to a greener future.

Dundalk native Anne Butterly is the brains behind the Easydry eco-towel, which is proving to be a cost-effective alternative for hair salons.

Anne says that the Easydry eco-towels – a 100pc biodegradable and recyclable soft, highly absorbant towel – are 25pc cheaper than buying and laundering cotton towels.

She revealed that she was spurred to start the business while sharing a flat in Dublin with six other girls who used to dye their hair.

“I was fed up with the soggy, stained towels in the bath so I went looking for an alternative. I couldn’t find one, so I invented one,” she said.

Easydry, who employ 10 people locally, recently launched in Australia and New Zealand while there are plans to expand into mainland Europe and the Middle East. They are currently rolling out in Canada.