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Brightest and best firms on shortlist for awards

The final shortlist of Northern Ireland companies who will go head to head at this year's Belfast Telegraph Business Awards has been unveiled.

The awards, which are run in association with British Midland International (bmi), will be judged across 11 categories and this year's event has attracted more applications than ever.

The brightest and best in the province, from well-established institutions like Almac and Heartsine, to new kids on the block including Intune Networks and Shredbank, will battle it out for top prizes. The awards ceremony will take place in the Ramada Hotel at Shaw's Bridge, Belfast, on Thursday, April 7.

Chaired by economist John Simpson, the judging panel for the 2011 awards will include Brian Ambrose, chief executive of George Best Belfast City Airport, Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest Northern Ireland, Professor Rodney McAdam, head of department of marketing, entrepreneurship and strategy at University of Ulster, Ann McGregor, chief executive of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, Brenda Morgan, Ireland sales manager for bmi, Paul Rooney, chair of Business in the Community and partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Joanne Stuart, chair of the Institute of Directors.

John Simpson welcomed the final shortlist and said that the quality of entrants shows that the future is bright.

Selected Award Nominees

Outstanding Business Team of the Year, sponsored by Moy Park: Almac, Autoline Insurance Group, Latens

Excellence in Marketing, sponsored by Progressive: Shredbank, Ulster Museum, Wilson's Country

Excellence in Exporting, sponsored by Northern Bank: Almac, Andor Technology, BE Aerospace

Excellence in Development of Management and Leadership, sponsored by Made Not Born: Autoline Insurance Group, G4S, Grafton Employment Group

Excellence in Innovation, sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland: Intune Networks, Kingspan Renewables, Finnebrogue, Mash Direct

Outstanding Service to Business: Almac, McGrigors LLP, South Eastern Regional College

Young Business Person of the year, sponsored by Bibby Financial Services: Conor Guy, Envirogreen Recycling; Johann Muldoon, Manor architects; Philip Bain, Shredbank

Excellence in Technology, sponsored by Cleaver Fulton Rankin Solicitors: Andor Technology, Heartsine Technologies

Best Small/Medium Business, sponsored by Yell: Employers for Childcare, Finnebrogue, Specialist Joinery Group