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Marking 50 years of Guaranteed Irish – one of our most trusted brands

Ahead of GI’s 2024 awards ceremony, we ask what difference a Guaranteed Irish Business Award can make

It is one of the most recognised and trusted brands in Ireland, a reliable shorthand that helps consumers understand that they are supporting Irish jobs and communities.

In 2024 Guaranteed Irish – marking its 50th anniversary – will run its third annual awards ceremony, celebrating businesses that support Irish jobs and other Irish companies. What are these awards about, what makes a winner and what difference can the award make to a business?

“The awards are open to members of Guaranteed Irish,” says Bríd O’Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish. “We launched the awards in 2022 when businesses were getting back on their feet after the Covid-19 pandemic. They have been a huge success and businesses feel it is a feather in their cap to get recognised at national level.

“It is a great opportunity to be showcased and to win more business, and it helps domestic businesses to be included in each other’s supply chains, as well as to connect with multinational firms that may include them in their own supply chain.”


O’Connell says Guaranteed Irish aims to be inclusive, so its membership comprises businesses of all sizes based in Ireland. They can be a domestic business or a multinational, as long as they meet the criteria set by an appraisals board that awards the Guaranteed Irish license. These criteria also inform the decisions of the Guaranteed Irish Business Awards judging panel.

“It is rarely possible to source all ingredients within Ireland,” says O’Connell. “We no longer grow sugar here, for instance. So, to qualify, businesses must create quality sustainable jobs, give back to their community and genuinely operate and add value in Ireland.

“The dedicated appraisals board judge each application independently and look for the added value being made here. Member companies must support other Irish businesses and producers, as well as the wider Irish economy, thus demonstrating their desire to give back and activate their belief that we are all together better.”

A company is obliged to contribute to life within the community to qualify for membership – for example, by sponsoring local teams or supporting charity initiatives.

“This helps customers to know that they are buying from a business that is genuinely committed to the community,” says O’Connell.

The awards are decided by an independent panel of judges, with each category having its own judging group. Previous winners have included big and small firms such as Musgrave’s, Seabody, Revive Active and Pestle & Mortar.

“The awards criteria can differ, depending on the sector, but all of the award decisions are based on innovation, contribution to society and the community, and [businesses’] long-term commitment to Ireland,” says O’Connell. “If they were not contributing back through, for instance, local sponsorship, they would not be a member of Guaranteed Irish in the first place.”

Matheson is one of the main sponsors of the Guaranteed Irish Business Awards.

“We firmly believe in celebrating success and the awards are a great way of celebrating the success, growth, innovation and commitment to jobs, community and provenance of Irish businesses across many different sectors,” says Michael Jackson, managing partner at Matheson.

“The awards event is always an exciting evening and one of the most popular networking opportunities members get each year, against a backdrop of the buzz and excitement that comes with the announcement and presentation of awards.”

For award winners, there is an obvious marketing benefit to being linked with the Guaranteed Irish brand.

“Emerald Park won an award last year and it gave them a platform to help make more people aware of their rebrand [from Tayto Park], and to showcase what they do,” says O’Connell.

“For a beauty product, such as the award-winning Pestle & Mortar, the Guaranteed Irish symbol of trust can help them across the board, including exporting to a major market like the US.”

But, from a business-to-business perspective, the win can also help companies to get noticed by other, bigger players in the supply chain, opening big opportunities for them. It could, for instance, help a small candle-maker to get noticed by a larger retailer, such as Musgrave’s, the parent company of familiar brands including SuperValu and Centra, as well as a big wholesale supplier.

“With the invaluable support of Permanent TSB, our title sponsor, we have become the best business awards out there,” says O’Connell. “There is a real commitment to live the brand and we ensure that the food and music at the ceremony is Irish. We practice what we preach and commit to supporting each other to keep Irish business – big or small, urban or rural – alive.”

Patrick Farrell, retail banking director of PTSB, title sponsor of the awards for the past four years, says that as a customer and community-focused Irish business, “PTSB is proud to sponsor the Guaranteed Irish Business Awards and celebrate the incredible achievements of so many outstanding businesses across the country.”

How the awards have helped businesses:

Pestle & Mortar

‘It’s an international emblem of trust and authenticity’

Pestle & Mortar, a skincare company headquartered in Kildare, was launched by Sonia Deasy in 2014.

“Every product we create is inspired by how I grew up,” says Deasy.

“There are six generations of Indian medicine men in my family and my uncle still practices in India to this day. Medicine men in India use ayurvedic principles to mix food-based medicines to cure common ailments. I grew up with ayurvedic food philosophies and a back-to-basics approach to beauty and wellness rooted in Indian natural-healing philosophies, and that’s what inspires my formulations.”

This approach has led to the creation of premium skincare, luxury body care and derma skin care categories, and the team has expanded to 30.

“Being honoured with the Guaranteed Irish Sustainability Champion Award in 2023 was a proud milestone for us,” says Deasy. “It’s an international emblem of trust and authenticity, and plays a pivotal role in our journey to showcase Irish skincare locally and globally.

“Winning the Guaranteed Irish Sustainability Champion Award attracted customers who want to support ethical Irish brands. It strengthened support from our community, leading to increased sales in our Kildare Village Store and online, and also solidified ties with our stockists who value and prioritise Irish sustainable Irish partnerships.

“I think we stood out as a brand that embodies values that contribute positively to the community and the Irish economy. We demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability, innovation and community welfare in our business practices.

“We are a local brand with a bricks-and-mortar presence in Kildare Village, and strong ties to a community we love to support. Since its inception, Pestle & Mortar has been a cruelty-free and vegan brand, and we work hard to integrate a sustainable mindset across everything we do.”

Emerald Park

‘The stamp of recognition has helped promote our business’

Since it opened in 2010, Emerald Park in Co Meath has become one of Ireland’s most-loved and popular family attractions. Formerly known as Tayto Park, it combines a theme park with a zoo and, this year, a €22 million investment will see the opening of two new rollercoasters. Visitors to Emerald Park can experience high-adrenaline rides alongside kiddie rides, a zoo area, falconry, circus shows and more.

The destination provides 600 seasonal jobs and 120 full-time jobs. It opens year round, except January to March, including full time during school holidays and at weekends all other times.

“We are an Irish-owned, small family company, which is unusual for a large-scale company,” says marketing manager, Niamh Reynolds. “We have charity partners including Jack and Jill and Mental Health Ireland. We do conservation work through the zoo and we have donated about €30,000 to support the reintroduction of the red kite. We also support the Golden Eagle Trust.”

Last year Emerald Park won the Guaranteed Irish Retail, Tourism and Hospitality award, and it is nominated again this year.

“For us, a win has helped to promote the business to customers, and the Guaranteed Irish stamp of recognition has really helped,” says Reynolds. “And, of course, it has helped increase our recognition among other businesses.”

Read the full list of Guaranteed Irish 2023 award winners here