Two Mayo firms will compete against each other in the final of The Irish Times Innovations Awards 2019 which will take place on Tuesday, November 5.
Showergem and BriteBin (developed by PEL Waste Reduction Equipment ) are among the fifteen finalists from established companies and start-ups which have been nominated.
For the Awards, three finalists are nominated in five different categories with the category winners going forward to compete for the overall title of Innovation of the Year Award and a communications package worth €150K.
Whatever happens on the night, the West is guaranteed to have a category winner who will go forward for the overall award. This is because both Mayo firms have been nominated in the manufacturing and design category and so are competing directly against one another and with the third nominee, Chameleon Colour Systems, from Tuam.
Showergem, which is based in Clerhaun in Westport, has been nominated for developing a shower caddy which can be attached to tiles using a transparent glue designed for wet environments. According to company CEO Sean McGarry it was a case of ‘frustration being the mother of invention’ with his father – also Sean and a plastic fabricator by trade – finally turning his angst at useless metal caddies into action in 2015 with the design of Showergem.
"The product has changed a lot in the intervening years….The final product is smaller, more streamlined and much easier to clean. We launched it a year ago at the Ideal Homes Exhibition and sold 400 units over the weekend. Selling €15K worth of product in a single weekend was brilliant. Since the launch we have sold over 13,000 units in Ireland and the UK and are on the verge of breaking into America with shopping channels and other outlets" said Sean.
BriteBin, developed by PEL Waste Reduction Equipment which is based in Balla has been nominated for its innovative solar-powered compacting litter bin which effectively ‘uberises the waste business’.
The device incorporates an on-board solar powered motorised compaction system which increases its capacity by up to 10 times the volume of a standard street bin. It also offers real time monitoring which enables operators to focus their litter collection resources on only those bins which are full, while it cuts down dramatically on street litter and nuisance from seagulls and other wildlife. In recent tests, Greenwich Council in London found that it only had to be emptied every two or three days as opposed to four or five times per day for standard bins.
According to founder Tommie Griffith the BriteBin is green, labour reducing and reduces costs. He says it’s a product which will go global saying: "We have 23 staff in PEL at present and plan to double that over the next 36 months. In addition, we have about 40 to 50 indirect employees. We are working on tenders every week and working hard to set up distribution networks around the world."
The aim of the awards, which are now in their tenth year, is to showcase and reward excellence in innovation across a range of products and services. Sponsors include Science Foundation Ireland, KPMG, Skillnet Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. The winners will be announced at a high-profile awards ceremony at the RDS in Dublin on Tuesday, November 5.
Each category winner will receive a communications package worth €10,000 while the overall 'Innovation of the Year' will win a unique communications package worth in excess of €150,000 and a scholarship for two Executive Development courses from UCD Smurfit School commencing in 2020.