FinTrU and Tina scoop top awards at BEFTAs

Tina McKenzie receives her Business Personality of the Year award from Ann McSorley (right), head of corporate banking at First Trust Bank, and Brenda Buckley (Business Eye). Photo: Darren Kidd/PressEye

BELFAST recruitment firm head Tina McKenzie was named Business Personality of the Year while financial services firm FinTrU claimed the Company of the Year accolade at the Business Eye First Trust Bank Business Awards (BEFTAs for short) in Belfast.

The awards, now in their 13th year and re-branded from the former UTV Business Eye Awards, were presented before a 600-strong business audience at ICC Belfast.

Ms McKenzie was chosen by the judging panel for steering the growth of the Staffline Group and for her contribution to the region's economy as a prolific spokesperson on business issues in her role as NI Policy Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses.

Financial services group FinTrU, set to grow to over 800 employees in the coming years and led by founder and chief executive Darragh McCarthy, was also named Fast Growth Business of the Year following the recent rapid growth of the business, only formed in December 2013.

Multi-award-winning Mash Direct took the Family Business of the Year award while Bangor-based Denroy Plastics was named Manufacturer of the Year.

In other awards, PKF-FPM Accountants were inaugural winners in a new Professional Services Firm of the Year category while a hotly-contested Young Business Personality of the Year title was awarded jointly to Maire Claire Reid of Ballymena-based haulage firm TST Transport and Gavin Halpin of Belfast animation/TV house Paper Owl Films.

Adrian Moynihan, head of First Trust Bank, said: “The BEFTAs are an opportunity to celebrate the stand-out organisations and leaders in our business community, while importantly recognising the value of their achievements to our economy and wider society.

“The event is an important platform to beat the drum for the Northern Ireland business community and given the uncertain times we live in, politically and economically, we must ensure our voices are heard loud and clear at this critical time.

“Last week we saw a significant and positive step forward in Brexit negotiations with the publication of the draft Withdrawal Agreement and a date set for the EU Summit.

"While maybe not perfect, we agree with the views and position of the leading Northern Ireland business organisations and representative groups who have voiced their support for the draft Agreement. It is clear that most business leaders understand and agree that a no deal Brexit could be hugely damaging for our economy and is simply not an option.

"This deal at last brings some certainty and allows us to turn our attention to the future trade relationship with the EU - safe in the knowledge that we have a transition period to negotiate it and a backstop to fall back on should those negotiations fail.”

Richard Buckley, editor of Business Eye, added: “Against a challenging backdrop, it's vital for business success, by both companies and individuals, to be recognised in this way. We had a record-breaking entry in 2018 and both the scale and quality of that entry illustrates the strength of the local business sector.”

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