What businesses will be on the red carpet for this year's BEFTAs?

Seamus McGuckin, head of business banking at First Trust Bank, and Brenda Buckley, commercial director at Business Eye Magazine, launch the new-look BEFTA Awards

ENTRIES have opened for one of Northern Ireland's longest-running business awards initiatives, which have a new name but a well established reputation.

The BEFTAs 2018 are the result of a partnership between the experienced team at Business Eye and lead sponsor First Trust Bank and are a natural successor to the UTV Business Eye Awards, which have been honouring leading companies, organisations and business leaders for the past 13 years.

This year's revamped awards will offer companies and leaders the opportunity to enter 18 categories covering every aspect of business in line with growth, emerging trends and focus across the region.

Last year's awards showcased an impressive array of winners at a memorable awards night held at the showpiece Belfast Waterfront in front of a 600-strong audience.

Newry convenience food manufacturer Around Noon lifted the coveted Company of the Year award, meat entrepreneur Peter Hannan was named as Business Personality of the Year, and the Lifetime Achievement Award went to the recently retired former chief executive of Belfast Harbour Commissioners Roy Adair.

This year's BEFTAs will again take place at Belfast Waterfront on Thursday November 22 under its new name and backing of First Trust Bank, with a revamped category line-up.

New categories include an award for Northern Ireland's medium/mid-sized company of the year, the region's manufacturer of the year and overdue recognition for our top professional services firm as well as the leading executive support professional.

First Trust Bank has partnered with Business Eye on the annual Business Eye First Trust Bank Small Business Awards for the past three years, a successful partnership that now moves to a new level.

The bank's head of business banking Seamus McGuckin said: “In the last year, against ongoing challenges and uncertainty, much of Northern Ireland's business community has gone above and beyond standard practice, showing levels of creativity and innovation that can inspire others.

"We're delighted to join Business Eye in celebrating these stand-out organisations and leaders in our business community at the new-look BEFTA business awards.”

:: Closing date for entries to the BEFTAs is Friday October 19. Full details at

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