Enterprising craft companies from County Wicklow impressed over 2,000 international buyers in the ‘Enterprise Zone’ at the Showcase expo in the RDS this week.
Showcase is an annual creative expo, which is organised by the Crafts Council of Ireland and promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland.
Coordinated by the County and City Enterprise Boards as part of Showcase, the ‘Enterprise Zone’, occupied the full balcony area of the RDS, offering a platform for small Irish craft and design businesses to meet domestic and international buyers
Exhibitors from Wicklow (pictured above) included: Evelyn Murray from Evelyn The Arty Weaver who makes beautiful hats in a wide variety of fabrics, Ciara Whooley from Irish Baubles, a Leaving Cert student who designs and customises baubles and candle holders for all sorts of clients, Frank Stubbs from Visions of Ireland whose picture postcards also contain a mini-DVD of beautiful Ireland, Iris Divito from Irish Angel Aura who makes hanging angels, jewellery, mobile phone charms and bookmarks using light-catching crystals, Judy Davis from Shuttleknit who make rich woollen garments in a variety of styles, and Fleur Reynolds from Fleur Designs who makes her own unique style of jewellery.
At the close of Showcase, Georgina Sweetnam from County and City Enterprise Boards said: “The record number of small craft businesses at this landmark event offered a wide range of contemporary craftsmanship and high quality products, including: jewellery, fashion, gift and homeware. The County and City Enterprise Boards co-ordination of the ‘Enterprise Zone’ at Showcase, provided over ninety micro-enterprises with a valuable opportunity to market their products to Irish and international buyers and secure valuable orders.”
In 2010, the County and City Enterprise Boards supported 35 small businesses at Showcase through subsidised stands, rising to 50 in 2011 and 57 in 2012, before reaching 75 craft businesses last year.
The number of companies which exhibited in the zone had almost tripled from 35 to a record breaking 93 businesses this year, with companies from 22 counties participating in the ‘Enterprise Zone’ at Showcase.
The County and City Enterprise Boards are committed to the craft sector nationally, providing supports such as mentoring, training, financial intervention, networking initiatives, business advice and export initiatives.