Belfast Telegraph Business Awards 2019: Judging panel reveals shortlist of finalists
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 www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/businessawards/tickets.
Excellence in Marketing
Lotus Property / The Boulevard
Excellence in Exporting
Naturo Pet Foods / Mackle Petfoods
Excellence in the Development of Management and Leadership
Excellence in Innovation
Naturo Pet Foods / Mackle Petfoods Chef's Selection
Best Use of Digital and/or Social Media
Balloo Hire Services
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
Retailer of the Year Award
Eurospar Carrowdore/Henderson Retail
McCalls of Lisburn
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
Digestors Silos and Tanks Limited
John Mulholland Motors
McElmeel Mobility Services
Emerging Business/Start Up of the Year
Beyond Skin Clinic
Pinnacle Professional Limited
Vantage Health and Life
SME Healthcare Business of the Year
Burleigh Hill House / MD Healthcare
Direct Medics Healthcare Recruitment
Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility
John Mulholland Motors
Pinsent Masons LLP