Belfast Telegraph

Top Ulster achievers win all-island awards

By Clare Weir

Two Northern Ireland companies have come out tops in an all-island competition to identify best business practice.

Comber-based TG Eakin Ltd was crowned the 'Ulster Bank Business Achiever 2011' at the all-island final of the awards, which took place at the Mansion House, Dublin.

The awards, now in their 18th year, attracted over 360 entries and are in association with the Belfast Telegraph, Irish Independent, Invest NI, Enterprise Ireland, and InterTradeIreland.

Budget Energy from Londonderry was also a winner, being presented with the Best Business Start-Up Award.

TG Eakin Ltd, which also won the International Business Award, manufactures medical devices for the ostomy and woundcare industry, distributed to 36 countries worldwide.

The company was founded in 1974 by Tom Eakin, who is still chairman of the Eakin Group. His two sons, Jeremy and Paul Eakin, now manage the business, which has grown into a hugely successful company with a turnover of over £23m in 2011.

Within the past five years, the company has set up new distribution channels in India, Poland, Hungary, Iran, Slovakia, Croatia, Italy, Romania, Czech Republic, South Korea, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Budget Energy is a new electricity supplier to the Northern Ireland market with a focus on keeping costs low.

The company was established in 2011 by Eleanor and George McEvoy and currently employs 27 people. It has 10,300 customers and continues to acquire 1,400 new customers per month.

Budget Energy is purchasing green energy from wind farms and anarobic digesters from Northern Ireland generators.

Other winners hailed from Kildare, Cork, Dublin and Meath.

As winner of Ulster Bank Business Achiever 2011, TG Eakin will receive a comprehensive reward package including a publishing bursary with the Irish Independent, business mentoring, a full service communications workshop, as well as national and regional PR opportunities.

David Thomas, managing director of corporate markets with Ulster Bank said the award winners were "an inspiration" to businesses in Ireland north and south.