Last Friday, at an awards ceremony held in the Kilmore Hotel, Cavan, 21 new business start-up companies with a difference anxiously waited to hear Minister John Perry announce the winners of the first ever ILDN Regional Enterprise Awards.

To tremendous applause John Paul and Kevin Boyle of uPilot from Donegal were announced as the overall winners.

The difference of these companies from other start-up businesses is that the business owners were unemployed and accessed self-employment supports from local development companies to help them start their own business.

John Paul and Kevin set up their business on the BTWEA Scheme in February 2013. They have developed a unique and innovative business using the latest cutting edge technology. They design, manufacture and operate Flight Simulators. At the moment they are building a Boeing 737-800 series simulator. The aim of the business is to operate a combination of mobile and fixed local simulators.

Kevin and John Paul received part funded by the LEADER Programme which allowed them to establish their business.

They have demonstrated great courage and determination by building a flight simulator in a garage/turf shed in rural Northwest Donegal. They have offered flight experience to schools, air shows and large festivals.

They have recently been awarded a six month contract to operate a flight simulator in Dublin airport if the trial is a success they will secure a three year contract.

Their future plans are to locate a range of simulators in international airport lounges throughout Europe and the Middle East. John Paul and Kevin have plans to target schools as part of the careers prospects for students.

In the future they aim to have created 12 jobs, they have found the BTWEA has ensured that they can develop the company and their biggest milestone to date was securing the deal with Dublin Airport.

Congratulations to Kevin and John Paul!

Also up for nomination from Co. Donegal were the following companies – Rathmore Mechanical Services Ltd., Donegal DLDC; Unique Ascent Outdoor Adventure, Donegal DLDC; The Grant Apparel Ltd. (Clubman), Inishowen; Iconic Flowers Ltd., Inishowen, and Efficient Heating & Plumbing (EHP), Inishowen.

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