Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Business Awards: 'Over the years our winners have become less about size and far more about quality'

Ahead of Thursday's Belfast Telegraph Business Awards In Association with British Airways, John Simpson reflects on over a decade helping top businesspeople select the victors as chairman of the judging panel chairman of the judging panel

The Belfast Telegraph Business Awards are now the longest established and best-supported awards covering a complete range of businesses in Northern Ireland. Each of the judges brings an extra degree of expertise so that the combined results are, we hope, fair and representative.

Entries for the awards are now much more diverse in origin, in size and from all parts of Northern Ireland. No longer is reading the entries a simple process. Reading and assessing the entries has become a much more demanding process to understand the complex skills that businesses have put on display.

Entries this year have again illustrated that there is plenty of room in the competition for both small and large, and simple and complicated business networks. Some of the smaller and modest entries tell the judges a story of often unsung business achievement.

This year, the switch from paper-based to email entries was impressive. The use of digital technology in recent years has been impressive.

The days when there could be a prediction that some of the big firms would dominate the entries has gone. Our list of award winners is proof, if it were needed, that winning is more related to quality of the entry than to the size of any one business. A significant development this year has been the welcome interest from a number of small and medium sized organisations. Also, the scope for a young business leader to claim a distinctive award is a continuing strength of the process. And, as a note of caution, the number of entries from businesses related to the digital economy or the social economy now needs to be further encouraged.

This year the Business Awards show that, after the recent recession, business ambitions are on the rise. The number of success stories is inspirational.

Award categories:

1. Excellence in Marketing

2. Excellence in Exporting,

sponsored by FedEx

3. Excellence in Management and Leadership, sponsored by DEL

4. Excellence in Innovation, sponsored by FSB

5. Best Use of Digital and/or Social Media, sponsored by Saville Audio Visual

6. Young Businessperson of the Year, sponsored by Almac

7. Excellence in Technology, sponsored by BT

8. Best Small/Medium Business, sponsored by Tughans

9. Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility

10. Outstanding Contribution to the Tourism and/or the Hospitality Industry

Judges' Awards, sponsored by British Airways:

11. Businessperson of the Year

12. Overall Business of the Year

Tables for the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards at the Culloden Hotel, Belfast on Thursday are still available - a table of 10 is £1,200 plus Vat and individual places are £130 plus Vat. The evening will feature comedian Neil Delamere. For further information contact Sarah Weir (JPR) on or call 028 9076 0066