Northern Ireland businesses of all sizes and sectors have been urged to shine a light on their achievements with the launch of the Telegraph Northern Ireland Business Awards 2011 in association with bmi.
A total of 11 awards are up for grabs including the new non-entry category of Businessperson of the Year and the overall title of Outstanding Business of the Year.
Winners will be revealed at a glittering awards ceremony in the Ramada Hotel in Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast on Thursday, April 7, next year.
Launching the 11th annual awards, Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson said: “The Belfast Telegraph Business Awards have gone from strength to strength in the last decade, showcasing the achievements of businesses of all sizes and types.
“These are challenging times and it has never been more important to highlight the high achievers who contribute so much to the business life of Northern Ireland.
“We have some very innovative and determined businessmen and women who are leading the way, not just locally but internationally, in their fields.
“It is wonderful to see so many companies which refuse to let the ongoing economic challenges divert their focus and I believe these awards will help give them the recognition they so justly deserve.”
British Midland International (bmi), the leading carrier from Belfast to London Heathrow which operates up to six flights a day from the George Best Belfast City Airport, will once again be endorsing the prestigious Belfast Telegraph Business Awards as overall sponsor.
The airline’s chief executive, Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, flew into Belfast specially to launch the awards.
Brenda Morgan, bmi sales manager Ireland, said: “bmi’s support of the Business Awards continues to be an excellent platform to demonstrate our interest in and commitment to the Northern Ireland business community. “We recognise that many businesses are operating under very difficult market conditions. However the Northern Ireland business community has many resilient and enterprising businesses, as has been reflected in the quality and very high standard of entries received each year.
Mrs Morgan, who is also on the judging panel, added: “As the 2011 Business Awards fast approach, our hope is that many businesses will take time to submit an entry. Successful entries send out a strong signal of your competitive strength within the marketplace and demonstrate that Northern Ireland is winning through difficult times.”
She said entering the awards could also build the morale of businesses. “I think the business community tends to underestimate the value and expertise of what they do — and the awards give them the opportunity to market themselves and show what they can do.”
Chaired by economist John Simpson, the judging panel 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 (IoD).