Belfast Telegraph

Race is on to crown Ulster's top firm in Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards

By Clare Weir

Northern Ireland firms have two weeks left to enter an all-Ireland awards scheme which includes a £40,000 publishing boost with the Belfast Telegraph.

The Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards celebrate the achievements of local companies across a range of sectors, and is run in association with the Belfast Telegraph, Invest Northern Ireland, InterTradeIreland and SmallBusinessCan.com.

Judges will shortlist companies for the Ulster provincial stage, and winners will then compete in their respective categories at an all-island awards ceremony in December.

One all-island category winner will also be crowned overall Ulster Bank Business Achiever 2014.

Previous Northern Ireland winners in the all-island scheme include Mash Direct, TG Eakin and CDE Global.

Mash Direct was launched by Martin and Tracy Hamilton in 2004 at their farm in Co Down, and first started as a stand in Belfast's St George's market.

This week, the company announced a deal with supermarket chain Asda, which will see seven new food lines being sold at over 350 stores across the UK. TG Eakin Ltd started out as a small pharmacy on the outskirts of Belfast and has grown into one of Northern Ireland's biggest business success stories.

The 2014 Sunday Times Rich List for Northern Ireland revealed that Paul and Jeremy Eakin are the third richest people here. And quarry product firm CDE Global, based at Ballyreagh Industrial Estate in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, finished top out of almost 600 entrants in the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards in 2013 for the second year in a row.

This year's winner will receive a prize package including a €50,000 (around £40,000) publishing bursary with the Belfast Telegraph, business mentoring from Enterprise Ireland and a full-service communications workshop.

Ellvena Graham, head of Ulster Bank Northern Ireland, said entering was a free investment.

"Winning or being a finalist in a provincial, national or overall award has provided excellent brand exposure for previous entrants and an opportunity for them to highlight and celebrate what they provide in terms of products and services," she said.

Deadline for submissions is Friday, September 26. Entries can be made by visiting businessachievers award.com.

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