Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Business Awards: All our shortlisted firms have great stories to tell, says judges' chairman

The judges' deliberations: Richard Donnan, head of Ulster Bank (back to camera) and (l to r) John Simpson, Tanya Anderson and Kirsty McManus of the panel
The judges' deliberations: Richard Donnan, head of Ulster Bank (back to camera) and (l to r) John Simpson, Tanya Anderson and Kirsty McManus of the panel
John Simpson

By John Simpson

Many businesses have interesting stories to tell. Across Northern Ireland there are many examples of enterprising businesses which are willing to talk about what they have been doing and where there have been new success stories, or rebuilt success stories, that are earning the rewards for their efforts.

Reading about the way in which different businesses describe their routes to better results and successful trading is one of the pleasures of being a judge for the Business Awards competition. All the written submissions were circulated to the ever-critical eyes of the nine judges who had to agree when choosing the award winners.

On April 26 at a special evening event, the winners in each of the diverse categories will collect their trophy and will be acknowledged by the larger, interested audience.

The shortlists from which the winners of each category will be drawn have now been published. Just over 50 businesses have the satisfaction of knowing that their bid to win has taken them to the final stages. That group of 50 businesses is a wide-ranging reflection of how local businesses are changing. It contains large, small, and very small units which have taken the brave step of allowing their story to be assessed by a group of distinguished judges.

Each year the Business Awards attract attention from a large audience. Amongst the shortlist (and also the winners) there are many new names and new faces. The mixture of new names interwoven with other well-known names gives a reassuring picture of a diverse, modern and progressive business world.

Some of the awards can be guaranteed to attract the spotlight of success. As in other years, there are reassuring surprises in the names and experiences of the Young Businessperson of the year. The number of nominations, as in other years, has remained high.

There are some new category awards. Perhaps with little surprise, the competition to be assessed as 'Retailer of the year' attracted keen and diverse entries. Reaching a judgment in that group was difficult - which should have been (and was) anticipated.

We were looking for a retailing outlet with the marketing and management skills that make it stand out in a very competitive world.

All 13 award categories will learn which business has gained the highest degree of success in the eyes of the judges.

Then, on the evening when the awards are revealed, we also have one further challenge: to choose a person who has been a successful business leader, to receive the accolade of a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The judges reviewed this award considering the achievements of several leaders who have served their businesses well and who have served the wider needs of the business community.

We have an exceptional and agreed answer!

Find out who the winners are on April 26.

Companies and individuals on Belfast Telegraph awards shortlist

Excellence in Marketing

Eurospar NI/Henderson Group

Mackle Pet Foods

Mash Direct

Rodgers & Finney



Excellence in Exporting

Copius Group

Environmental Street Furniture (ESF)

Mackle Pet Foods

Safety Solutions NI Ltd

Statsports Group


Excellence in the Development of Management & Leadership


Henderson Foodservice

Henry Brothers Ltd

Mascott Construction


Excellence in Innovation

Almac Group & Arran

CPS Property

Greenacre Innovations Ltd

LF Fasthouse Ltd

Northway Mushrooms

Statsports Groups


Best Use of Digital and/or Social Media

Digital Twenty Four Ltd /


Eurospar NI/Henderson Group

Galgorm Resort & Spa

Lighthouse Communications

The Transfer Tutor


Young Business Person of the Year

Cathal Grant – CGDM Construction

Declan Murdock – AJC Group

Gareth Chambers – Around Noon

Gareth Irvine – Copeland Spirits

Paul Lawther – Onecom


IT Company or Team of the Year

Foods Connected

Liberty IT


Outsource Solutions (NI) Ltd

Salt DNA


Retailer of the Year

Cordners Spar Comber Road

Eurospar Knockchree

McBride Retail Group

Spar Madigans Court

Warden Bros Ltd


Excellence in Workplace Health and Wellbeing

FinTrU Ltd


JP Corry


The Lava Group NI Ltd


Best Established Small/Medium Business

AJC Group

CGDM Group

Hagan Homes

Keenan Healthcare Ltd

Shredbank Ltd

Todd Architects


Emerging Business/Start-up of the Year


Copeland Spirits

Jack Straws Ltd

LF Fasthouse Ltd



SME Healthcare Business of the Year

Enhanced Hair Studio

New Life Teeth


Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility

Henderson Wholesale Ltd

Henry Brothers Ltd

Homecare Independent Living

Lidl NI

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