Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Business Awards 2019: Judging panel reveals shortlist of finalists

Professor Durkin, chairman of the awards’ judging panel (seated, centre), is joined by (seated) John Simpson and Clare Guinness, and (back, from left) Ann McGregor, Ian McConnell, Roger Pollen, Richard Donnan, Geoff Simmons and Ciara Lagan.
Professor Durkin, chairman of the awards’ judging panel (seated, centre), is joined by (seated) John Simpson and Clare Guinness, and (back, from left) Ann McGregor, Ian McConnell, Roger Pollen, Richard Donnan, Geoff Simmons and Ciara Lagan.

Nearly 60 Northern Ireland businesses have been shortlisted across 13 categories in this year's Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank.

A panel of 10 judges led by Professor Mark Durkin, Executive Dean at Ulster University Business School, completed a demanding judging session to select a final shortlist.

The judges, representing a variety of business and commerce companies and organisations, said they were very pleased with the standard of entries, which they felt demonstrated the huge efforts companies have made, locally and internationally.

Professor Durkin said: "The panel members and I were extremely impressed by the submissions received from such a diverse number of companies, both large and small, from across Northern Ireland.

"Both existing and new companies are continuing to break new ground with innovative ideas and collaborative approaches which bodes well for the future of the Northern Ireland economy.

"There is an excellent pool of business talent locally and this was reflected in the range of awards entries we judged.

"It was a challenging task for us as a team and we debated dynamically with every entry being scrutinised carefully. Ultimately we agreed on an exemplary shortlist of businesses showcasing our region's exceptional entrepreneurial talent. I would like to thank my fellow judges for their time and efforts and we look forward to the awards evening on May 2."

Joining Professor Durkin on the panel were economist John Simpson, Richard Donnan of Ulster Bank, Roger Pollen of the FSB, Clare Guinness of Warrenpoint Harbour Authority, Professor Geoff Simmons of Queen's University, Ciara Lagan of Tughans, Professor Ian McConnell of PwC, Jennifer McKeever of Airporter) and Ann McGregor of the NI Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Donnan, head of Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland, praised the entrants. "It's always a welcome challenge to judge awards like this when there are so many quality applications," he said.

"It was very encouraging to see the number of businesses where innovation and continuous improvement are core elements of their operations, as well as those that have been actively growing and diversifying their customer base and product set by embracing export and near-market sales.

"What was really clear in this year's entries was that businesses had worked really hard on measuring and quantifying their impact, not just for these awards, but in developing a successful overall strategy.

"Many also showed how they were embracing technology developments to enhance the way they do business - a key capability that's important as we work to grow and develop Northern Ireland's enterprise ecosystem."

The Lifetime Achievement Award and Overall Business of the Year sponsored by Ulster Bank will also be awarded on the night of the awards.

How to buy tickets

The gala awards dinner takes place on 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, visit


The shortlist

Excellence in Marketing


Henderson Wholesale

Lotus Property / The Boulevard


Excellence in Exporting

CDE Global

Fortress Diagnostics

Lowden Guitars

Naturo Pet Foods / Mackle Petfoods

Raptor Photonics

Excellence in the Development of Management and Leadership

Henderson Foodservice

Mascott Construction

Pacem Glover

Excellence in Innovation

Camden Group

Naturo Pet Foods / Mackle Petfoods Chef's Selection

Raptor Photonics


Wilsons Auctions

Best Use of Digital and/or Social Media

Balloo Hire Services


Mash Direct

Henderson Wholesale / Henderson Group


Young Business Person of the Year

Conor Martin, Ozaroo

Declan Murdock, AJC Group

Gavin Annon, Mount Charles

IT Company or Team of the Year

Henderson Technology / Henderson Group



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Retailer of the Year Award

Arcadia Delicatessen

Eurospar Carrowdore/Henderson Retail

McCalls of Lisburn

Roco Boutique

Suitor Brothers Tailoring

Wardens of Newtownards

Excellence in Workplace Health and Well-being Award

Axiom Managed Solutions

MARTIN Contracting Services

Mivan Marine Ltd

Outsource Solutions (NI) Limited

Progressive Building Society

Best Established Small/Medium Business

AJC Group

Digestors Silos and Tanks Limited


John Mulholland Motors

Lowden Guitars

McElmeel Mobility Services

Emerging Business/Start Up of the Year

Beyond Skin Clinic


Incorporate Benefits

Pinnacle Professional Limited

Vantage Health and Life

SME Healthcare Business of the Year

Burleigh Hill House / MD Healthcare

Direct Medics Healthcare Recruitment

Fortress Diagnostics

Keenan Healthcare

Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility

Grafton Recruitment

John Mulholland Motors

NI Water

Pinsent Masons LLP