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High-flying Ulster firms win at business awards

The overseas export successes of two Northern Ireland companies have helped them secure all-island business awards.

Portadown’s Kestrel Foods and Newry’s First Derivatives won the Agri Food and Drink Award and a Special Recognition Award respectively at the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards.

The local companies, who |qualified for the all-island final by winning a competition amongst Ulster firms, collected their accolades at a gala ceremony in Dublin’s Mansion House last week. They were joined amongst the winners by another Ulster company — Monaghan firm Silver Hill Foods, which has sites at Aughnacloy and Ballygawley, in addition to its Emyvale base across the border.

Kestrel Foods, which has grown its business outside of Northern Ireland to 90% of overall sales, was selected by judges from a shortlist of leading agri-food and drink companies from across Ireland.

First Derivatives, a provider of technology solutions to the capital markets sector, was chosen for special recognition due to impressive growth and a number of successful recent acquisitions. The two Northern Ireland businesses were amongst nine winners from across the island on the night, having been amongst a shortlist of 32. Henry Elvin, Ulster Bank’s head of business banking in Northern Ireland, said: “The two Northern Ireland winners have grown from small beginnings to achieve considerable success on the world stage through perseverance, innovation and ambition. We are delighted to recognise their impressive achievements and offer them as examples to other Northern Ireland companies.” The Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards, which are run in association with the Belfast Telegraph and supported by Invest Northern Ireland and IntertradeIreland, aim to reward established businesses across all industry sectors, regardless of size, for their leadership, successes and contribution to the economy in the face of many challenges and obstacles.

Entries are open to established businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs whose businesses have achieved success and have demonstrated innovation and leadership in overcoming the current challenges in the marketplace.

Invest NI director Donal Durkan who sat on the judging panel added: “Throughout the judging process, the wealth of local talent and entrepreneurial ingenuity was clearly evident making the selection of winners a challenging process. The eight Northern Ireland finalists covered a diverse range of industries and demonstrated a strong commitment to innovation and the highest standards of quality. All must be congratulated on their success and commitment to growth against a difficult economic backdrop.”