Advanced Cosmetics, based in Ballina, Co Mayo, has won the top prize at this year's National Enterprise Awards.

The company was set up by cosmetic chemist Noreen Hackett in 2019, before launching to market in 2022.

The business offers an end-to-end service to cosmetics brands, from formulation through to packaging.

It allows companies to have their products 'Made in Ireland', as opposed to having the work done in Europe or further afield.

"We were established in 2019 - when we started our labratory, and we built up a strong customer base," said Ms Hackett, who was speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland following her win.

"With that we were able to move into production and start to bring back some of the production that had left Ireland and would have been primarily in Germany, France and Poland."

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Ms Hackett has worked in the industry for more than 10 years, which she said has allowed her to build up expertise in the sector.

She has also established strong relationships with brand owners and their teams, which has helped her to compete on a global stage.

"I've worked in every contract manufacturing facility in Ireland, and we've worked with contract manufacturers in Germany, France and Poland too, to help them design methods to manufacture," she said. "So I had a keen insight into how I was going to build my manufacturing facility."

The company is also looking to continue its growth - with a doubling in production capacity planned for later this year.

The company is also hoping to get planning permission for a custom-built, modular facility which will eventually provide it even more flexibility for expansion.

Ms Hackett said that automation and innovative manufacturing techniques were at the core of her company, but it would also be vital to find people with the right skills - or those who could learn on the job.

"When I started this business I was a chemist by training but I went into another manufacturing facility and I learned every aspect of the job," she said. "It's quite easy to train people and that's what I think is key, I think it's key to bring people into your business, show them how the business is run and upskill."

The National Enterprise Awards are now in their 23rd year.

The awards are an initiative of the Local Enterprise Office and aim to recognise the best small businesses in Ireland.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney announced the winners this evening at a ceremony in the Mansion House in Dublin.

"The National Enterprise Awards are the highlight of the small business and enterprise calendar," Minister Coveney said.

"Year on year the diversity of businesses and the standard of companies that are coming through the process is getting stronger.

"We should not be surprised given the innovation and endurance that businesses have shown in the past couple years," he added.

Minister Coveney said small businesses are "vital" to the economy, and added that the Government will continue to support their needs, describing them as "the core of every town, village and community".

John Magee, Chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices, said the awards provide an opportunity to celebrate small businesses.

"The standard again this year is phenomenal with finalists and winners across all sectors. We are seeing some amazing businesses coming to the fore," he said.

"Entrepreneurship and starting a business is a lonely road but we have to appluade our finalists and winners tonight. They took that leap and without them our communities are a poorer place," he added.

There were several other category winners announced tonight.

Innovation Award

The winner of the Innovation Award was the Wicklow Hops Company supported by Local Enterprise Office Wicklow, who use next generation technology in yeast fermentation and the growing of bacteria.

Best Export Award

The winner of the Best Export Award was Wild Irish Seaweed supported by Local Enterprise Office Clare, who are one of the only hand picked wild seaweed companies in Europe and export their premium product across the globe.

Best Start Up Award

The winner of the Best Start-Up Award was IMVIZAR supported by Local Enterprise Office Dun-Laoghaire-Rathdown, who create walkable storytelling experiences by using augmented reality for tourist attractions, universities and entertainers.

Green / Sustainability Award

The winner of the Green/Sustainability Award was Cream of the Crop supported by Local Enterprise Office Fingal, who are a zero waste company that create treats from surplus produce to help fight food waste.

One To Watch Award

The winner of the One to Watch Award was Watt Footprint supported by Local Enterprise Office Westmeath, who are an energy management company who achieved signifcant energy savings for their clients.

Eight regional winners were also announced at the awards.

High Resolution Lighting in the Dublin Region, backed by LEO South Dublin

Cotter Agritech in the South West Region, backed by LEO Limerick

Glass Innovations in the Mid East Region, backed by LEO Offaly

Hyde Irish Whiskey in the South Region, backed by LEO South Cork

Sully and Juno in the South East Region, backed by LEO Wexford

Silver Strand Rope Works in the North West Region, backed by LEO Donegal

Nualach Automation in the North East Region, backed by LEO Cavan

Lark Bridal in the West Region, backed by LEO Roscommon

In addition to the regional winners, West Cork Distillers received the Outstanding Achievement Award.