Irish business networks

Nominations open for Irish Australian Business Awards

Nominations have opened for the Irish Australian Business Awards, now in their fifth year.

Run by the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce, the awards celebrate success and innovation in the Irish business community.

There are six categories for this years prizes:

Startup - Less than three years in operation based on FYE19.

SME of the Year - This category is for small businesses in any sector and at any level of turnover operating for more than three years.

Established Business - This category is for businesses over five years old in any sector.

Young Entrepreneur - Under 40 at FYE19 and can be based anywhere in Australia. Must be a shareholder/director actively involved in the business.

Young Professional - Under 40 at FYE19 and can be based anywhere in Australia. Not a shareholder/director and must have their nomination endorsed by a senior member of their organisation.

International Trader - Does business between Ireland and Australia – import/export/both. The award winner here must demonstrate an international growth strategy that has achieved outstanding levels of sales, profit and market share improvement.

Higgins Award: People’s Choice: Open class, National finalists, voted on via the IACC website, promoted during events and via social and traditional media.

Read More: 2019 Irish Australian Business Awards Gala

For the first time, this year’s prizegiving will see an ‘Innovation Award’ added to the line-up to further inspire creativity in the business sector.

The IACC CEO Barry Corr said: “The innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of Irish Australian business has been a recurring theme over the four previous years of the awards.

“We felt that as we go into our fifth year, it was deserving of special recognition and a category of its own to highlight even more of the achievements happening in our business community every day.”

Andrew Harte took out Young Entrepreneur at the 2018 Irish Australian Business Awards.

Andrew Harte took out Young Entrepreneur at the 2018 Irish Australian Business Awards.

Last year’s winners include Irish-born Andrew Harte, a former labourer whose four companies now have a turnover of more than $20 million, and Stephanie Lyons, who was credited with working to transform the super fund business while volunteering in her local community.

To put forward a business person or corporation, visit the Awards Form.

Nominations close on August 9, with the winners to be announced at the Awards Gala on October 11.

Building a forum for Irish know-how

Michael Cahalane is one of the driving forces behind the newly-formed Club Hibernia.

Michael Cahalane is one of the driving forces behind the newly-formed Club Hibernia.

A GROUP of Irish Australians are banding together to launch a new networking organisation for construction industry professionals in New South Wales.

Called Club Hibernia, launched this week, will meet quarterly in Sydney for ‘networking, knowledge-sharing and social events’. 

Michael Cahalane, a civil engineer from Cork, was one of the people who came up with the idea.

”We had a conversation over a few pints that there was no real forum or networking association for Irish professionals in the construction industry,” he said.

”There’s such a large population of us working in the industry now. We decided there might be some value out of it.”

Some of the people who've been signing up include contractors, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and project managers.  While Irish people are in the majority, you don't have to be Irish to join..

“It’s been formed by Irish people and there is a very Irish tint to it, but there are already plenty of people who work with us who aren’t Irish who are coming along," Mr Cahalane said.

He said the construction industry was currently “very bullish in NSW”.

 “There is a massive infrastructure boom - projects like NorthConnex, WestConnex, the Sydney Metro, Sydney light rail….. and then you have all the commercial projects around Barangaroo and around Central Station. Residential is still quite strong too, so it is a really good industry to be in at the moment.”

He said many Irish construction staff who’d come here during the recession are now in senior positions.

He himself has been in Australia for 12 years and is a director at Warren Smith and Partners – a consulting engineering firm employing about 60 people.

Along with Mr Cahalane, the  other Club Hibernia committee members are: Jimmy Larkin (MBM); Pat Cronin (BDM Constructions); Cathy Hughes (Enterprise Ireland); Mick O’Driscoll (DCWC); Brian O’Mainin (Johnstaff); Francis Houlihan (Lend Lease); Elvire Callaghan (MSJ Architects); Ken O’Neill (Aurecon).

While their aim is to keep the quarterly events informal, they may have guest speakers in the future.

“At worst it will be a few pints and a bit of craic,” Mr Cahalane said.

“But hopefully people can get a bit of value out of it by making new contacts and doing some new business - or finding a new career path.”

To find out more, email Michael at