Meet Tori Wilton! Tori has been interning with the WhiteLight Consulting team since May. Here she gives us her perspective on her first event: The National Enterprise Awards 2017.
My first real day on the job began as I fretted about what to wear that would be both comfortable and professional in front of Ireland’s highest quality entrepreneurs as they bid for awards for their hard work and passion for business and creativity.
On the 25th of May, 2017, I arrived in Dublin City with Con and Karen to ensure preparations for the National Enterprise Awards were properly underway. The nerves hit as I watched the red carpet being rolled out at the entrance to Mansion House. This later gave way to excitement as we began to work, setting up registration desks, goodie bags and trophies. As an intern, I felt incredibly lucky to see such an event unfold. The venue was stunning – the ceiling was covered in tiny lights like stars in the night sky and white curtains enveloped the room. A gala dinner was on the cards for all 32 finalists, who had beat out the competition to earn the chance to win the national competition and a €10,000 prize to invest in their business. The stakes were high, but the finalists were clearly there for good reason. Each of them delivered speeches and took part in a Q&A with noticeable ease, proving that they were the crème de la crème of Ireland’ entrepreneurial world.
My first major task was to help man the registration desk so that we knew exactly who had arrived and when. As well as this, we were to keep an eye and ear out for the arrival of Enda Kenny, who was in attendance as one of his last appearances as An Taoiseach.
After registration had ended and guests began to take their seats, I was invited upstairs to watch the show from behind the scenes. Surrounded by tech equipment and the people that operate it was certainly an experience. I had already been provided with a technical overview which gave a second-by-second overview of the entire event from beginning to end, and a headset so I could stay in the loop with Karen (who was presiding over the technical side of the event) and Con (who was working his magic down on the floor with the guests and competitors). Videography from each of the finalists and all presentations were screened on Mansion House’ gigantic 54-foot screen behind the stage, ensuring an impressive display throughout the entire event.
The competition was fierce and it was a close call from my point of view, but one company stood out to the judges. Acutrace, a data collection company focusing on energy costs for commercial and industrial organisations took home the main prize of €10,000 and a stunning trophy. Each of the eight regional winners also took home a beautiful trophy to mark their outstanding journey through the race to the finals.
With Local Enterprise Office members, government officials and some of Ireland’s future business leaders in attendance, it was certainly a night to remember and a fantastic beginning to my internship!