M&M Contractors take top prize at Business Eye First Trust Bank Small Business Awards

Gareth and Noel Loye from M&M Contractors collect the Small Business of the Year award from Des Moore (First Trust Bank) and Brenda Buckley (Business Eye). Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Presseye

A BELFAST engineering business with a 35-year old chief executive delivering a world-leading transatlantic communications construction project has been named Northern Ireland's best small business.

M&M Contractors was awarded the top prize at the second annual Business Eye First Trust Bank-sponsored Small Business Awards, held at La Mon Hotel & Country Club.

Organised by Business Eye magazine and sponsored by First Trust Bank, the initiative celebrates the north's top performing businesses with 50 employees or less across 12 different categories.

The manufacturing business of the year award went to composites specialists IPC Mouldings based in Carrickfergus, while online payment firm IRP Commerce came out on top in the technology business of the year category.

The award recognised the company’s own technology, the IRP platform, which has been instrumental in changing the fortunes of a host of well-known online companies over the past decade. In excess of £1 billion online sales have been transacted for these companies on the IRP and it continues to break boundaries in the world ofr e-commerce.

Glenarm Organic Salmon lifted the agri-food business award with the innovative Environmental Street Furniture taking the exporter of the year title.

The award for customer focus went to Newry-based accident management company Crash Services while a pair of Spar retail outlets in North Belfast took the community contribution title.

Other winners included Belfast Food Tours and Crumlin Road Gaol (joint winners of hospitality & tourism business of the year), Peninsula Care Services (healthcare business of the year), Women In Business (business marketing award), Clinishare (start-up business of the year), AC Automation (innovative business of the year).

First Trust Bank regional head Des Moore said: “We have the pleasure of working with a diverse range of innovative and creative small businesses and recognise the crucial role they play in growing Northern Ireland’s economy.

"By celebrating and rewarding their success through initiatives like the First Trust Bank Business Eye Small Business Awards, we help shine a light on best practice and hopefully motivate other businesses to achieve their full potential.

"The standard, diversity, innovation and entrepreneurial drive demonstrated at the awards were not only exciting but encouraging for the local economy and we want to congratulate all of the entrants and winners.”

Brenda Buckley, publisher of Business Eye, added: “We received a really strong entry from a wide variety of companies based across Northern Ireland and we've every reason to believe these awards will go from strength to strength and become an integral part of the business calendar."

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