They have been dubbed the most prestigious business awards in Northern Ireland, recognising excellence and celebrating outstanding achievements across a range of sectors, and this week the Belfast Business Awards, was officially launched and opened for entry.
Spanning 21 categories from Best New Business, Best Family Business, Social Enterprise of the Year, Employee of the Year to the Bank of Ireland UK Lifetime Achievement award, the awards will this year be held in the iconic Titanic Belfast on Friday 10th May 2019.
Sponsors, local dignitaries and more than 120 key members of the business community united in the Grand Central Hotel Observatory to launch the annual awards which are firmly established as a benchmark for excellence in today’s highly competitive business environment.
Now in their fifth year, the awards are organised by Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce with principal sponsor Bank of Ireland UK.
Paul McClurg, Head of Belfast Business Banking at Bank of Ireland UK commented: “As a business and a funding partner to businesses across Belfast City, we are passionate about enabling our customers and the community to thrive.
“We see an important part of being a strong community is to have confidence and recognise, share and celebrate talent and success.
“We are delighted to partner with the BCTC for the opportunity to reflect the quality and diversity of business talent in Belfast as the City continues to change and strive towards becoming a smart city, one where businesses want to be based, and where people want to live.”
Speaking at the launch event, Rajesh Rana, President of Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce said: “Today marks the opening of what is set to be our best and most celebratory Belfast Business Awards to-date, recognising an absolutely outstanding calibre of business in the City.
“Boosting confidence, competitiveness and creativity are just three of the many benefits that winning a Belfast Business Award can help promote.
“Belfast may be small in terms of geography, but it is safe to say that we really do punch well above our weight. This city is proud to house home-grown businesses which are doing trade on a stratospheric scale and we as a Chamber want to recognise and reward them.
“Businesses like last year’s winners of Business Growth, Fintru, the Financial Services company that provides resourcing solutions for Global Investment Banks.
“Like TAP SOS, who won Best Technology Based Business launched by a young entrepreneur in her early 20s who is in talks with companies in Silicon Valley about her mobile App for contacting the emergency services.
“This City has exceptional talent, deserving of their place on the world stage, and the Belfast Business Awards are such a great opportunity for businesses to get their head above the parapet and celebrate their successes and their people.”
“Belfast has faced a tough year in the wake of the Primark fire, but in true Northern Ireland style, through hard-work, grit and determination, we got the city back to functionality as quickly as possible.
“There is still a lot of work to do, but Belfast is on the cusp of an exciting growth period – we welcomed the news of £350 million investment from Treasury with regards to the City Deal – which is said to create up to 20,000 new and better jobs alongside delivering a 10-year programme of inclusive economic growth for the City.
“I would like to thank our principal sponsor Bank of Ireland and indeed our category sponsors, without whom these awards wouldn’t be possible.
Rajesh concluded, “I encourage as many businesses to enter as possible. Entry is free, online and accessible from www.belfastchamber.com.”
The Belfast Business Awards will take place on Friday 10th May 2019 at Titanic Belfast. If you are interested in entering the Belfast Business Awards visit www.belfastchamber.com Entry deadline is midnight, Friday 22nd March 2019.
Full list of categories and sponsor:
1. Customer Service Excellence, Hospitality Sector sponsored by Power NI
2. Customer Service Excellence, Independent Retailer sponsored by Andras Hotels
3. Customer Service Excellence, Professional Business Services sponsored by Specsavers
4. Best New Business sponsored by Fintru
5. Social Enterprise of the Year sponsored by Belfast City Council, Health Development
6. Best Family Business sponsored by Value Cabs
7. Business Growth sponsored by Grant Thornton
8. Best Company to work for award sponsored by Willis Insurance
9. Best Marketing Initiative sponsored by Downtown, Cool FM, Downtown Country
10. Best Business Premises sponsored by Belfast One
11. Young business person (Under 30) sponsored by Victoria Square
12. Employee of the year sponsored by Castle Court
13. Business person of the Year sponsored by Lacuna Developments
14. Creative Business sponsored by Destination CQ
15. Best Digital Business sponsored by Exterion Media
16. Best Hotel, sponsored by Linen Quarter BID
17. Best Age-Friendly Business sponsored by Belfast City Council, Age Charter
18. Best Technology Based Business sponsored by Mills Selig
19. Environmental Best Practice
20. Best Eatery/Coffee Shop sponsored by Red Box Media
21. Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Bank of Ireland
*Please note, to be a valid entrant, your business must be located in Belfast or you must be a member of Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce. *
MAIN IMAGE: Paul McClurg, Head of Belfast Business Banking at Bank of Ireland UK is pictured alongside Rajesh Rana, President of Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce and Clodagh Rice, Business Journalist at BBC Radio Ulster who hosted the launch event held at the Grand Central Hotel, Belfast.