Shabra was a steadily growing Irish plastics recycler and manufacturer until the day in 2002 when Dublin decided to levy a tax on plastic shopping bags. Sales dropped by about €4 million as one of the company's main businesses was all but wiped out. Founder Rita Shah says she had to use her house as collateral to secure capital while the company retooled. "Rather than look for a new customer base, we went to our customers, people with whom we'd built up a relationship over years, and found out what else they might want," Shah says. The company diversified slowly, branching out into profitable niches and jumping into the export market.

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