Belfast Telegraph

Celebrations as IT specialists Novosco take crown at Belfast Telegraph Business Awards

Novosco the leading light at Telegraph gala evening

By Margaret Canning

Belfast IT company Novosco was crowned the Outstanding Business of the Year at the 2018 Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank last night.

The company, which employs 180 people, provides IT infrastructure and cloud services to both public and private organisations and won a major contract in 2017 - a £10m deal with one of the UK's largest housing associations, Notting Hill Housing.

The judging panel praised the strength and commitment of the leadership team in steering the company's success and commended its corporate social responsibility (CSR) work and commitment to its own staff. Novosco, based at Catalyst Inc - formerly known as the Northern Ireland Science Park - also won the IT Company of the Year award. And the work which has gone into Catalyst Inc led to a Lifetime Achievement Award for its chief executive Dr Norman Apsley, for his commitment to innovation and enterprise promotion in Northern Ireland.

Over the last 18 years he has developed an organisation recognised as one of the best of its kind across Europe.

Over 350 of Northern Ireland's brightest and best business people attended the glittering black tie event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Belfast, hosted by BBC NI presenter Wendy Austin.

It is the second year Ulster Bank has partnered with the Belfast Telegraph for the awards. Two new categories were introduced this year - Retailer of the Year and Excellence in Health and Wellbeing. AWARE, the Northern Ireland charity which promotes mental health and helps those suffering from depression, was charity partner for the event. Richard Donnan, Ulster Bank head in Northern Ireland, said: "I think it speaks volumes that this year, the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank, received a record level of entries. It demonstrates that not only is there exceptional work taking place in our business community but that companies are increasingly aware of the importance of showcasing the calibre of what they do through the business awards in order to further develop and grow.

"Being on the judging panel was an inspiring experience. We had a really strong mix and diverse range of submissions from firms that have an excellent and well-executed strategy and those who are truly competing and winning in their market places and delivering real value for their business and for Northern Ireland."

Richard McClean, managing director of Belfast Telegraph owner Independent News and Media (NI), said: "We were thrilled that such a wide range of businesses of all sizes and from all sectors from right across Northern Ireland joined us for a fantastic evening to mark their achievements. Hearing their success stories has been truly inspirational.

"Being shortlisted means that your business has met the very high standards set by our panel of esteemed judges and is certainly something worth celebrating. We are proud, along with our partner Ulster Bank, to champion local entrepreneurs and help tell their stories to the wider business community, and in their 16th year our awards are stronger than ever."

Where the awards went

Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Ulster Bank

Dr Norman Apsley, chief executive of Catalyst Inc

Outstanding Business of the Year sponsored by Ulster Bank

Novosco

Excellence in Marketing sponsored by Mascott

Mackle Pet Foods

Excellence in Exporting, sponsored by Crowne Plaza Belfast

Environmental Street Furniture

Excellence in the Development of Management and Leadership sponsored by Asda

Mascott

Excellence in Innovation sponsored by Copius Group

Northway Mushrooms

Best Use of Digital/ Social Media sponsored by Saville Audio Visual

Digital 24/Babocush

Young Business Person of the Year sponsored by Outsource Solutions

Gareth Chambers, Around Noon

IT Company of the Year

Novosco

Retailer of the Year sponsored by Retail NI

Warden Bros

Excellence in Workplace Health and Wellbeing sponsored by the Public Health Agency

Flynn

Best Established Small/ Medium Business sponsored by Fleet Financial

Shredbank

Emerging Business/Start Up sponsored by FintrU

Copeland Spirits

SME Healthcare Business of the Year

New Life Teeth

Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility sponsored by Northway Mushrooms

Lidl NI