Begin Together Awards

The Search for Ireland’s Most Enterprising Town 2020

Questions and answers

  • Purpose of Competition?

    The competition aims to promote enterprise by bringing business and community groups together, in each town/city village/urban area, to showcase the spirit of enterprise in their local area. (All towns/city villages/urban areas can participate. Every city has urban areas and urban villages that operate as a town in their own right and have distinct identities, local business and residential communities – The definition of a town for the purpose of these awards includes City villages/urban areas.)

  • Why is Bank of Ireland launching this competition?

    Bank of Ireland is committed to helping customers achieve their business ambitions. Bank of Ireland recognises that supporting SMEs, Start-Ups and Community organisations to work together and thrive is a core part of the Bank’s purpose.

  • Is this just a sales promotion for the bank?

    This is not a sales promotion for Bank of Ireland. This competition is the Bank’s way of recognising the efforts being made by businesses and local communities to promote and grow their towns and become economically sustainable.

  • What is the local council’s role in the competition?

    The competition is held in collaboration with local authorities all over Ireland, their Local Enterprise Offices and Economic Development Departments.

  • How are the towns chosen for the competition?

    The Towns, City villages and urban areas are generally put forward by the relevant local authority. There is however an option to self-nominate* by individuals and the relevant local authority will be informed of that nomination.

    * Final nominations are the responsibility of the relevant local authority which considers a range of criteria as part of the nominations process of which pubic recommendations are one. Recommendations are not binding, no feedback will be provided on the nominations process.

  • How many entries are allowed from each local authority area?

    There is no limit on the number of entries per local authority area.

  • Who can participate in the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Awards? Why is the competition searching for Ireland's most Enterprising town if city villages and urban areas can also partipate?

    All towns, city villages and urban areas can participate. Every city has urban areas and urban villages that operate as a town in their own right and have distinct identities, local business and residential communities. The definition of a town for the purpose of these awards includes City villages/urban areas.

  • Who are the judges?

    The names of the judges and their bios will be made known to the towns organising committee prior to judging.

  • What is the format of the judging?

    Generally each town will be visited by the judging panel for a three hour session for those who enter a town population, city village or urban area entry. Two hours will be allocated to a specific category entry. The recommended allocation of time includes:

    • 30 minutes presentation by the town
    • 30 minutes question and answer session
    • 20 minutes to meet people socially
    • 80 minutes to visit and view key initiatives selected by the organising committee
    • 20 minutes concluding comments and wrap up

  • What if our town exceeds the allocated time?

    The maximum time for the visit is either three hours or two hours, depending on the category entered. The judges will expect towns to adhere to this timeframe and schedule the visit accordingly.

  • What are the judging criteria?

    The judging criteria guidelines are outlined on the attachment to the application form. Please see here.

  • How does a town enter the competition?

    Applications open mid May (date TBC), please visit

  • There is no Bank of Ireland in my town? Can it enter?

    Yes. This competition is open to all towns and city villages/urban areas in Ireland irrespective of whether there is a Bank of Ireland branch.

  • Who should I talk to?

    You can contact your nearest Bank of Ireland Branch OR your Head of County in Bank of Ireland (These contact details are provided in the table ‘List of Bank of Ireland contacts by County’ at bottom of FAQs).

  • What are the various categories?

    CategoriesWinnersPrizes in euro
    Population Categories

    • 0-2,000
    • 2,001-4,000
    • 4,001-7,000
    • 7,001-14,000
    • 14,000+
    • 1 winner in each category
    • 2 runner-up per category
    • Winner per category €10,000
    • 1st runner up per category €3,000
    • 2nd runner up per category €2,000
    City Award
    • 1 overall winner
    • 2 runner-up
    • Winner City category €10,000
    • 1st runner up €3,000
    • 2nd runner up €2,000
    Rising Star
    • 1 overall winner
    • 2 runner-up
    • Winner Rising Star €20,000
    • 1st runner up €3,000
    • 2nd runner up €2,000
    Overall Winner
    • 1 overall winner
    • 1 overall winner €40,000
    • (this winner will also have won either a population category or city category)
    Special Categories

    • Local town promotion initiative
    • Local community enterprise initiative
    • Local town partnership initiative
    • Local senior enterprise initiative
    • Local youth economy initiative
    • 1 winner per category
    • 1 runner-up per category
    • Winner per category €7,000
    • Runner up per category €2,000
    Special Award – Best Business District/Park
    • 1 winner
    • Trophy

  • What is the overall winner and what is the prize?

    The overall winner will be selected from either the population category winners or the city winner to take the title of Ireland’s Most Enterprising town with an overall cash prize of €50k.

  • What are the Special Category awards?

    These are as follows:

    • Local Town Promotion Initiative
      Details of a marketing/promotional initiative, either for a complete town, specified section of town, time of year promotion or unique town product. It may be a marketing activity or an event, festival or seminar.
    • Local Community Enterprise Initiative
      Details of a locally run enterprise, organised and managed by the local community for the purpose of creating employment in the local area. It may also be supported by local development agencies. It can take the form of a co-operative style business, social enterprise or community run local shop/café/farm.
    • Local Town Partnership Initiative
      Since the start of these awards in 2016 (Previously called the National Enterprise Town Awards), it has been obvious that town partnerships are making a huge difference in assisting and influencing the positive sustainable growth of the local economy and attracting investment to that town. These are partnerships involving all key stakeholders in the town and impacting on the town. This award is to acknowledge outstanding successful partnerships.
    • Local Senior Enterprise Initiative
      On the 16th December 2019 Ireland became the first country in the world to become fully affiliated to the World Health Organisation’s Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities. The Age Friendly Programme is embraced by local authorities all over the Island of Ireland. The Senior Enterprise Economy is hugely significant from a social and business enterprise and this award seeks to acknowledge towns that have actively developed, fully inclusive age friendly enterprise, from either a social or business perspective.
    • Local Youth Economy Initiative
    • A local community run initiative/activity/enterprise, organised and managed by the local community for the purpose of building the skills and capabilities of young people in managing and understanding money & business

  • What information has to be submitted for a special category entry?

    Each of the special category entries will require the following details to be submitted in/with the application:

    • Full details of the initiative
    • Rationale behind initiative
    • Target market
    • Local and other support
    • Funding
    • Persons involved
    • Demonstrable impact/outcomes
    • Impact on wider community
    • Future
    • Any other information the applicant wishes to add

    The judging criteria will be based on details required to be submitted in the application.

  • Who is the prize paid to?

    The nominated Organisation as specified in the application form.

  • Are there any restrictions on how the prize money can be spent?

    This is at the discretion of the winning town. However, when completing an application to enter the competition the applicant/s must outline how the funds will be spent.

  • When are the winners announced?

    The winners will be announced at the gala awards night which will be held in December (venue TBC).

    The overall winner will receive a trophy, €50,000 (or the sterling equivalent) and will be crowned Ireland’s Most Enterprising Town 2020. All population and city winners will be presented with a Plaque and Bank of Ireland will organise a Post Celebration event in the locality.

  • Will there be positive publicity by the bank for the towns?

    Press releases will be issued to local and national media and the town may feature in future promotion of the awards. Towns will also be included in the Bank’s Social Media plan.

  • Can the judges’ decision be appealed?

    The judges’ decision is final and cannot be appealed.

  • Can the entries receive feedback on the judges' visit?

    Yes, an overview of the judges’ reflections on their visit will be made available to each entrant.

  • What is the 'Rising Star' Category?

    In the Begin Together Awards 2020 there will again be a “Rising Star” category with a prize of €20,000 awarded to the winner. This category will focus on towns which have overcome major challenges and can demonstrate how they have achieved this. Entries must be specifically nominated in this category on the application form. Only towns that have entered the population category are eligible to enter into the Rising Star category. Details of the award are outlined in the application form. Entries will not be accepted from City villages or urban Areas.

    The application must include the following:

    • Details of the town, with key demographics
    • Reason why town should now be considered as Ireland’s Rising Star
    • Previous state of town. Give context outlining economic history and detail what its decline looked like and reasons for its decline
    • Outline the current state – e.g. what is the town like now. Describe the changes and progress the town has made
    • Current and ongoing initiatives and outline of their impact
    • Details of actions and approach taken to bring town to present state
    • Details of successful partnerships within the town and with supporting organisations, who contributed along the journey
    • Details of increased employment/developments/new business in the town and recognition for the town
    • Current and ongoing initiatives and their impact
    • How the award would be spent to promote or add value to future progress of the town.

    A separate judging panel from the main competition will be established. Applications will initially be assessed based solely on the documentation submitted and entries will be shortlisted and visited by the judging panel.

    The winner will be announced and presented at the Awards night.


List of Bank of Ireland contacts by County

NameCountyMobile No.

Email address

Derek ShannonCarlow07662
Mark O’ConnorCavan086 6051085Mark.O’
Eamonn CorcoranClare086
Sean ByerleyCork City086
Eilis MannionCork County086
Barry GallagherDonegal086
Karen CunninghamDublin City087
Morgan O’Regan Dublin – Dun Laoghaire Rathdown 086 0443797 morgan.o’
Kieran TuiteDublin North086
Marie Meehan Galway City087
Tomas DiskinGalway County086
Deirdre Twomey Kerry086
Roisin CrottyKildare087
Derek ShannonKilkenny07662
Áine MaloneLaois087
Tara RodgersLeitrim086
Maria KellyLimerick086
Ita GrayLongford087
Paula HarmonLouth086
Michael Costello Mayo087
Gary HolliganMeath087
Mark O’ConnorMonaghan086 6051085Mark.O’
Áine MaloneOffaly087
Tara RodgersRoscommon086
Tara RodgersSligo086
Laura Henry Dublin South087
Mick RyanTipperary087
Pamela PimWaterford087
Ita GrayWestmeath087
Trudy RyanWexford087
Maria ColemanWicklow087