Belfast Telegraph

Awards shortlist proves Ulster firms up there with UK best

Two Northern Ireland firms have been shortlisted for major UK business awards.

Pharmaceutical company Almac is in the running for Employer of the Year while Bryson Charitable Group has made it to the final grouping for Social Enterprise of the Year in the second annual Private Business Awards.

The two local organisations beat over 600 high quality entries from across the UK to qualify for the final judging, which celebrates the best in the private business sector and underlines its importance to the UK economy.

Almac, based in Craigavon, employs 3,000 staff and exports to 32 countries worldwide.

With all profits reinvested and a significant annual investment in research and development, Almac's commitment to staff and customer engagement is the legacy of its founder, the late Sir Allen McClay, and has already earned the company a cluster of international awards.

Founded in 1906 with the objective of poverty relief, Bryson is the UK's sixth largest special enterprise, with 670 employees and an annual turnover of over £30m.

Bryson's activities range from skills development for school leavers and the unemployed to social care and an inner city water-sports programme.

Bryson Recycling is now the region's largest provider of kerbside recycling services.

Announcing the local shortlisted organisations, Kevin MacAllister, partner and private sector leader with PwC in Northern Ireland, said that such firms are actively helping to trade the UK out of recession.

"For Almac to be shortlisted as a potential Employer of the Year and for Bryson to be in contention as the UK's leading Social Enterprise, is a recognition that Northern Ireland can compete with the best in the UK," he said.

"I am delighted that these two remarkable organisations have been selected from over 600 businesses and will serve as role models to other companies and organisations in the region."

The winners of the awards will be announced at a dinner to be held at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, on Thursday, September 6.