Belfast Telegraph

It's a privilege to judge the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards


Janet McCollum, chief executive of Moy Park, was last year presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Richard Donnan, head of Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland
Janet McCollum, chief executive of Moy Park, was last year presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Richard Donnan, head of Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland
John Simpson

By John Simpson

The Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank bring a festival moment of success to many businesses: large, small, multinational, family controlled and self-employed owner managers.

The awards offer links that can build friendships, co-operation and innovative partnerships.

For me, being a judge is a privilege.

It is also a serious responsibility. The awards bring positive consequences.

Reading the descriptions of changes in the life of businesses, as set out in entries for the business awards, is not just an enjoyable challenge; it is a critical update from the important people who make businesses successful.

My task, along with my fellow judges, is more than choosing successful bids to win awards in the different categories - it is a broadening of our knowledge and therefore the knowledge of our readers about leadership, investment and achievement in business.

Bids are now invited for businesses that can show Excellence in Workplace Health and Well-being. That picks an emerging theme for responsible units.

In a parallel category, where are the SMEs who could be the healthcare business of the year?

In a brave leap - will the entries surprise the judges? - we are trying to find a business that might be adjudged to be Retailer of the Year.

Short listed businesses are noticed much more than casually. They catch the eye of many potential customers, suppliers and competitors.

Winning a business award brings deeper interest: it leads to publicity through photographs of the moment of presentation.

The run-in to the 2018 awards is under way. Should your business be there? Does your chief executive or managing director have a success story to tell?

Is she/he well motivated to put 'pen to paper' for the short time that it would take to tell the story of your business in the brief way that conveys the message and persuades my fellow judges that the success of your business should be known to a wider audience?

As judges we have set high standards and a demanding task.

We are ready and willing to set the bar high. Now, are you, the potential entrant, ready to reach that bar?

Why not give it a go?

  • Full details on categories and criteria and how to enter are available at www.belfast
  • The closing date for entries is Thursday, March 8 at noon.
  • The gala awards dinner takes place on Thursday, April 26, at the Crowne Plaza, Shaw's Bridge, Belfast.
  • A table of 10 costs £1,400 plus Vat, while individual places are available at £150 plus Vat.
  • To book, please contact Karen McGarvey at Belfast Telegraph on, tel: 028 9026 4345 or


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 Year

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