Kilkenny Business Awards 2020: Local Dragon honoured for firing up business world
Dragon’s Den star and proud Kilkenny man Bobby Kerr has been honoured with the President’s Award at the Kilkenny Business Awards 2020.
Meanwhile, Kitty Donohoe of Goresbridge Horse Sales – the first woman ever appointed to the Irish Horse Board – has received the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s scaled down awards.
Kilkenny Chamber, the organiser of the annual awards, said Covid-19 restrictions “prevented the usual selection process and 23 awards presentation at the annual black tie gala event from taking place this year”.
However the Board of Kilkenny Chamber said they were “determined to continue the November tradition” by awarding the two accolades to Bobby Kerr and Kitty Donohoe.
Chamber CEO John Hurley said: “In a year when so many businesses have creatively dealt with the very difficult circumstances for trade it is hugely important to recognise the resilience of Kilkenny business. It is also vital that we remind everybody of the importance of supporting local business.
“The Kilkenny Business Awards are about highlighting effort, creativity and resilience in business and giving people the chance to tell their stories. Everyone needs a lift, something positive in these gloomy lockdown days and the Awards are a positive message in this space.”
Kilkenny Chamber said the Lifetime Achievement Award and the President‘s Award “recognise longstanding local businesspeople that are part of the fabric of Kilkenny‘s business community and who have made an extraordinary contribution to Kilkenny‘s brand and economy”.
Kitty Donohoe was the driving force behind the family business, Goresbridge Horse Sales, which was started in 1968 by her husband, Ned. His untimely death in 1978 placed her, a non-horsey 42-year-old mother of nine children with another baby on the way, at the helm of what has become Europe’s largest auctioneer of sport horses. Kitty was the first woman appointed to the Irish Horse Board. She drove the business forward, while raising her young family, displaying a model of can-do attitude to all who did business with her.
Bobby Kerr is a proud Kilkenny man who has always maintained strong links with his native city. He learned about hospitality from his father, who had led the consortium that built the landmark Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny’s first Grade A hotel. These days Bobby is best known for his roles in Insomnia and Newstalk. His media career began as a ‘Dragon’ where he participated in the first four series of Dragon’s Den and still retains an interest in eight businesses that he backed on the show.
Kilkenny Chamber has selected St. Vincent de Paul Kilkenny as its charity partner and is encouraging people to support the organisation through its website: www.svp.ie/home.aspx.