We’re still buzzing from the great atmosphere at last night’s eir Spider Awards, which recognise the best of the best in digital media in Ireland. Now in its 21st year, with eir as sponsor for the last 17, the Spider Awards don’t just reward excellence, they’re also a pointer towards who to watch in 2017 as the winners consolidate their success and continue to innovate.
This year’s winners include so many excellent examples of companies innovating with digital media, it’s hard to know where to start. We on the judging panel – and please spare a thought for our adjudicators, because assessing hundreds of contenders is no small feat – were blown away by the quality of entries. You can see the full list of eir Spider Award winners here, but there are just a few that I especially wanted to mention:
The Grand Prix winner 2016
Always a hotly contested category, The Grand Prix singles out the honoree whose achievements have been judged most outstanding. Huge congratulations to this year’s winner, TenderScout, whose founder Tony Corrigan built the company with the simple idea of easing the pain experienced by smaller businesses wanting to win public contracts. TenderScout provides decision-making information about buyers, competitors and tenders, and it also identifies partners that can enable companies to be successful.
Tony has already stated the company’s ambition to become a €35 million business within five years, and we’ll be excited to see what the coming period holds for TenderScout. Last year’s Grand Prix winner, NewsWhip – which also took away the 2015 eir Spider Award for Best Use of Data & Web Analytics Award – managed to double staff number and revenues in the year since its wins.
The Internet Hero winner 2016
Personally I was delighted to see a fantastic idea and a female entrepreneur win the eir Spider Award for Internet Hero: Jules Coleman. Formerly a management consultant, Jules taught herself to code and built the initial prototype of Hassle.com – a domestic cleaning marketplace start-up. Jules went on to build her business into one of the largest European players in the industry. Before exiting to Helpling, Hassle.com had raised in excess of $6 million and had grown the team to over 70 full time employees.
Why eir and the Spider Awards?
eir has sponsored the Spider Awards for 17 years, and at a time when every sponsorship decision comes under scrutiny, it’s important for us as an organisation – to have an answer ready when someone asks why we stay with these awards.
It’s simple: eir wants to see more Irish organisations online, and we’re passionate about celebrating the best of what they’re achieving once they get there. The potential of digital in Ireland is far from fully realised. Research from the IEDR reveals that just a third of Irish businesses can sell or take payments online. And two thirds of offline businesses in Ireland say they “see no need” to be online in their industry.
That’s something eir wants to see changed. It’s why we sponsor the Awards, and why we offer Spider Award workshops during the year. The judging this year have been challenging, but we’d honestly welcome an even greater challenge, if it meant many more more organisations were exploring the Web and pushing the boundaries of innovation.
This is why eir as a company continues to invest in building and increasing the speed of Irish networks. Whether connecting via mobile or fixed-line fibre, you need fast, reliable connectivity to keep on top of the communications and information that power your work and personal life.
Today our fibre network reaches 1.6 million premises across Ireland, we cover 90% of the population with 4G mobile, and we’re not stopping there. We’ve invested more than any other organisation to enhance Ireland’s connectivity and we’ll continue to do so, because it’s what can make the single biggest difference to the country’s future: more people, and more businesses, exploring the full potential of the Web.
We’re living in ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ times right now; digital advancements are moving at a breakneck pace and only the most innovative of companies can keep up. Please join me congratulating all this year’s entrants and winners of the eir Spider Awards: their work, and their leadership, will continue to inspire long after awards night.