Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Business Awards supported by Ulster Bank launched

Norman Apsley (centre) of Catalyst Inc won the Lifetime Achievement Award last year. He was joined by Richard McClean (left), INM, and Richard Donnan, Ulster Bank
Norman Apsley (centre) of Catalyst Inc won the Lifetime Achievement Award last year. He was joined by Richard McClean (left), INM, and Richard Donnan, Ulster Bank

The Belfast Telegraph Business Awards for 2019 have opened for entry with Ulster Bank lending its support as title sponsor for a third consecutive year.

Business organisations both large and small can now enter online via www.belfast across 13 categories, ahead of the closing date on March 21.

The prestigious black-tie awards ceremony will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast on Thursday, May 2.

Now in its 17th year the business awards programme is the longest-established in Northern Ireland and this year welcomes a new chairman of the judging panel.

Professor Mark Durkin, Executive Dean of Ulster University Business School, will bring a wealth of local and international business experience and expertise to the judging process.

Sarah Little, publishing director of Independent News and Media NI, said: "We continue to build on our awards year on year and Ulster Bank as our title sponsor and partner has helped us to further improve and expand the awards programme since they came on board in 2017.

"I would like to thank them for their support and also warmly welcome Prof Mark Durkin to the judging panel as our new chair.

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"The Business Awards afford companies of all sizes and from differing sectors the opportunity to spotlight their successes both at home and on the international stage. Whilst last year was the best in terms of entries, we know there are even more brilliant business success stories out there and we would like to encourage enterprises and individuals to come forward and enter."

Richard Donnan, head of Ulster Bank, Northern Ireland, said he was pleased that Ulster Bank is partnering with the awards again and is looking forward to entry submissions reflecting an ever developing and entrepreneurial business ecosystem in Northern Ireland.

"Last year's awards received a record level of entries demonstrating the exceptional work taking place in small and large businesses and augurs well for the 2019 awards," he said.

"In line with Ulster Bank's focus on support for entrepreneurs through our accelerator hub, this year's gala awards night will feature a special elevator pitch session pitting some of Northern Ireland's brightest entrepreneurial talent against each other to win an impressive prize.

"We had a really strong line-up of finalists last year and it's fantastic to see these companies of all sizes going from strength to strength and contributing to the local economy.

"Our 2018 overall winner Novosco continues to make great strides and since the awards ceremony has announced a £20m expansion alongside a £107m contract with an NHS Foundation Trust."

Prof Mark Durkin said he was delighted to take over the reins from esteemed past chairman, economist John Simpson.

"I'm privileged to join and chair the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards judging panel and am looking forward to assessing submissions alongside Richard from Ulster Bank and fellow panellists from a range of professional bodies and business organisations," he said.

"I'm especially delighted that long-serving panel member and past chair John Simpson is remaining on the team and without doubt this year's submissions will continue to impress and amaze the judging panel. I would particularly like to underline the need for businesses to submit evidence-based entries showing clear qualitative and quantitative business outcomes. It's absolutely essential and makes the difference in terms of reaching the shortlist or not."

Last year's overall winner Novosco also took the IT Company of the year accolade. Other winners included Mackle Pet Food, Warden Bros, Shredbank, Copeland Spirits, Lidl NI, Northway Mushrooms and Mascott.Norman Apsley was awarded a Lifetime Achievement with Gareth Chambers Young Business Person of the Year.

How to buy tickets

The gala awards dinner takes place on Thursday, May 2 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast. A table of 10 costs £1,500 plus VAT while individual places are available at £160 plus VAT. To book online

Belfast Telegraph