The achievements of entrepreneurial businesses in the face of challenging economic conditions have been celebrated at an awards event in Belfast.
Six Northern Ireland companies, along with one from Monaghan and one from Donegal, were yesterday presented with prizes at the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards, run in association with the Belfast Telegraph, Invest Northern Ireland and InterTradeIreland.
Awards were handed out at a lunchtime ceremony in Belfast’s Hilton Hotel to the eight Ulster companies, who will now go forward to compete for all-island prizes against provincial winners from Leinster, Munster and Connaught.
The all-island winners will be announced at a gala event in Dublin in March 2010.
In the Ulster awards Silver Hill Foods from Monaghan took home the Family Run Business prize, First Derivatives of Newry was the International Business winner and Lir-Med of Portadown claimed the start-up busiiness award.
The social entrepreneurship gong went to Employers for Childcare in Lisburn and the green award went to Oilean Glas Teo of Donegal.
Kestrel Foods from Portadown were victorious in the agri-food and drink category.
Rehabstudio from Belfast claimed the emerging technology prize and the accolade of the one to watch award went to Willowbrook Foods of Killinchy.
The eight winners were drawn from a shortlist of 24, who were selected from the 125 Ulster companies entered.
Ulster Bank head of business centres in Northern Ireland, Ian Jordan, said: “The entries to these awards demonstrate that many businesses remain determined, resilient and resourceful in the face of difficult economic conditions.
“I have seen numerous examples of companies overcoming the odds to achieve success and of firms being creative and innovative to survive and in some cases grow.”
Judges for the awards included Mr Jordan; Sam McIlveen, the Belfast Telegraph’s digital publisher; Paul Allen, group CEO of Tayto; Liam Nellis of InterTradeIreland; and Donal Durkan of Invest Northern Ireland.
The Business Achievers Awards aim to reward established businesses across all industry sectors, regardless of size, for their leadership, successes and contribution to the economy in the face of many challenges and obstacles.