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Two Ulster companies win Queen's Award for Enterprise

By Amanda Ferguson

Two Northern Ireland companies have won top accolades at the Queen's Awards for Enterprise. The awards, now in their 50th year and organised by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, recognise businesses driving growth and innovation.

The winners were Coleraine firm Nicobrand, which produces nicotine for stop-smoking therapies and Vita Liberata Ltd, a Ballyclare company run by Alyson Hogg, producing a range of organic, non-toxic skincare products.

Both firms won awards in the International Trade category.

Winners from across the UK attended a reception with the Queen at Buckingham Palace to receive their awards.

Mark McQuillan, managing director of Nicobrand, said most of the company's recent growth had come from the e-cigarette industry and the award could provide a springboard for further success. "We see potential for growth there," he said. "This win has laid the foundation for that.

"There's a lot of talk at the moment regarding future regulations on e-cigarettes, so we're keeping a close eye on it."

Nominations are now open for businesses to apply to be in with the chance of walking away with an award next year.

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