RADIO NEWS: 80 Companies in Blacknight SME Awards Final in Cork [with AUDIO]

Awards celebrate the "local heroes" of Irish business, whose community ties run deep

Newsreader copy 20"; interview clip 26"; plus extended press release with additional longer clips

Over 80 companies are finalists in the second annual Blacknight SME Awards, being held in Cork this weekend.

Hosted by RTE presenter Rick O’Shea, the event honours the achievements of local entrepreneurs in 15 categories, including Family Business, Under 30s, and Community Minded.

Web hosting company Blacknight is sponsoring the event. Its CEO, Michele Neylon [say: Mi-Kay-Lay Neylon], says Irish SMEs are the lifeblood of their communities.

CLIP: SME_Awards-mneylon-2016-04-15-clip1.mp3
BEGINS: "You take a small business ..."
OUT-CUE: “... whatever length or period of time that might be”

"You take a small business: they're not going to pack up their bags in the morning and move. They’re going to stay around, because they have ties to the local community. Whereas, you take a big faceless multinational corporation: they don't give a damn about Ireland. They don't give a damn about anything other than: is it cost efficient; is it tax-efficient for them to set up in Ireland for whatever length or period of time that might be." Michele Neylon, Blacknight CEO [Clip 1]
"Our customers are small businesses. Small businesses are what drive the Irish economy. We provide services to small businesses, so from our perspective, getting involved with the SME Awards was a no-brainer." Michele Neylon, Blacknight CEO [Clip 2]
"The beautiful thing about the SME Awards is that they’re free to enter, so there’s none of this kind of rubbish where you have to pay to play. If you’re a small business starting out, every cent counts; every euro counts. You don’t want to be spending a couple of hundred euro entering an awards which you may or may not get. What’s the actual return on investment on that? So with the SME Awards there’s no cost involved; the cost is simply taking the time to actually enter your business. And if you see what happened as the nominations opened there before Christmas, hundreds of small Irish businesses from the four corners of the country entered, and now we have a nice shortlist of the finalists, covering a wide gamut of different kinds of businesses; some very well established; some which are brand new." Michele Neylon, Blacknight CEO [Clip 3]
"No matter which country you look at, small businesses are the heart and soul of any economy; be it Ireland, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, the United States. The thing is though, that, no matter where you go, the small businesses are rarely hailed as successes. They’re rarely in the spotlight. They're behind the scene. They’re the ones working away, seven days a week. They’re the ones where the owners are putting their time, energy and effort into building up their business, or in many cases, just even trying to make ends meet. You know, for a lot of the small businesses, it’s tough. Yet time and time again we see that the main interest - both from the media, the government and elsewhere - is always on the big shiny objects: the big Fortune 500s, the big foreign investment coming in, and these are the ones that have no ties to the local community, and ultimately there’s no loyalty there." Michele Neylon, Blacknight CEO [Clip 4]
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About Blacknight

Blacknight ( are an Irish based, ICANN accredited domain registrar and hosting company. Recipients of several awards for their revolutionary use of social media, Blacknight are one of Europe’s most cutting edge Internet companies. Blacknight constantly seek to lead the way by introducing innovative solutions for its client base and provide dedicated servers and co-location as well as a comprehensive range of Microsoft Windows and Linux based hosting plans and domain name registration services to business globally. IP transit services and other solutions for more demanding business and academic customers are offered a la carte.