Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Business Awards with Ulster Bank launched for 2018

Richard McClean, Conleth McConville, Naoimh McConville, Brian McConville and Richard Donnan, Ulster Bank pictured at the Business Awards.
Richard McClean, Conleth McConville, Naoimh McConville, Brian McConville and Richard Donnan, Ulster Bank pictured at the Business Awards.
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

The Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank have opened for entry with a glittering ceremony to take place at the Crowne Plaza, Belfast on April 26.

Ulster Bank has given its backing to the awards, the longest established business awards in Northern Ireland, for the second year, after a hugely successful partnership last year which saw companies of all sizes and sectors awarded for their achievements.

This year - the sixteenth year of the awards - companies across Northern Ireland can enter across 13 categories, with two new awards introduced. One will focus on how businesses look after their employees, Excellence in Workplace Health and Well-being, while the Retailer of the Year Award will be presented to a store which excels in customer service.

Ulster Bank head of Northern Ireland Richard Donnan, said: "Our successful partnership last year with the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards helped shine a light on the entrepreneurial talent that exists in Northern Ireland across companies of all sizes and sectors.

"We were particularly delighted with both the quantity and standard of entries in the categories we introduced for the first time in 2017.  For example, EquiNutritive which won emerging business/start-up of the year category went on to be a finalist in the British Small Business Awards, whilst the other new categories including SME Healthcare Business of the Year and IT Company or Team of the Year showcased some cutting edge work being carried out in Northern Ireland.

"Winners seem to go from strength-to-strength with MJM Marine, the winner of the Overall Business of the Year award, this month announcing the great news of a multi-million contract to refurbish a cruise ship right here in Belfast.

"We're continuing to proactively support customers in growing their businesses across a wide and diverse range of sectors so we know the talent and dedication exists and we look forward to working with the Belfast Telegraph again to highlight and celebrate even more outstanding companies and people this year."

Richard McClean, managing director of the Belfast Telegraph, said: "It's fantastic to have Ulster Bank as partner and overall sponsor again this year, building on last year's successful partnership.

"We are always keen that the awards reflect a changing business environment and we are particularly proud to introduce a new category awarding businesses that are committed to improving the health and well-being of their employees, an essential component of business strategy for any company which is serious about being a good employer.

"We also see the Retailer of the Year category as an important new addition to the awards, showcasing the efforts of local businesses in providing exceptional customer service, engagement with the local community and supporting local suppliers and producers.

"We're thrilled to have such an esteemed panel of judges on board this year and welcome Dr Joanne Stuart's promotion to deputy chair of the judging panel, reflecting her experience in the knowledge economy and digital sectors. The expertise the panel brings is invaluable in ensuring the very best companies win. We look forward to hearing the success stories of our homegrown businesses."

Last year's overall winner of the awards was Newry-based MJM Marine which also won the Excellence in Exporting Award. Others winners included GCRM-Belfast, Henry Brothers, Novosco and M&M Contractors.


1. Excellence in Marketing

2. Excellence in Exporting

3. Excellence in the Development of Management and Leadership

4. Excellence in Innovation

5. Best Use of Digital and/or Social Media

6. Young Businessperson

of the Year

7. IT Company or Team of the year

8. Retailer of the Year

9. Excellence in Workplace Health and Well-being

10. Best Established Small/

Medium Business

11. Emerging Business/Start up

of the Year

12. Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility

13. SME Healthcare Business of the Year

The judging panel

Two special judges’ awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award and Overall Business of the Year sponsored by Ulster Bank, will also be awarded.

The judging panel this year will again be chaired by economist Professor John Simpson  (right), along with:

 ÷ Deputy chair Dr Joanne Stuart, Director of Development, Catalyst Inc;

÷ Richard Donnan, Head of Ulster Bank, Northern Ireland;

÷ Ann McGregor, Chief Executive, NI Chamber of Commerce;

÷ Kirsty McManus, Director, IOD;

÷ Edel O’Neill, Reader in Management, Ulster

University Business School;

÷ Damien Duffy, Director of Development, Belfast Metropolitan College;

÷ Colin Stutt, social enterprise specialist; and

÷ John Hansen, Partner in Charge, KPMG.

Click here download the entry pack.