New-look Aer Lingus business awards 'TakeOff' for 2018

Announcing the opening of entries for the 10th annual Aer Lingus TakeOff Foundation Business Awards are cabin crew member Lyndsey Minford (left) with Aer Lingus business development manager Andrea Hunter

THE annual Aer Lingus business awards have been rebranded to mark the initiative's 10th anniversary.

Previously known as the Viscount Awards, they'll now be known as ‘Aer Lingus TakeOff Foundation Business Awards', with the key aim being the same - to recognise and reward some of the most outstanding organisations and individuals in the country.

Spread across eight diverse categories, the awards (details at have now opened for entries, with the deadline for submission being Friday March 16.

All short-listed companies will be flown from George Best Belfast City Airport to London, courtesy of Aer Lingus, to celebrate together at an awards ceremony at the IoD headquarters on Pall Mall in May.

Head judge and Aer Lingus' regional business development manager Andrea Hunter said: “We're excited the awards have a brand new look and feel, bringing them under the Aer Lingus TakeOff Foundation banner.

“The TakeOff Foundation is our CSR programme, a key strand of the which is supporting businesses across Ireland through a number of initiatives, so the awards fit perfectly given they're designed to celebrate and champion local firms.

“We're hugely excited to have reached 10 years of our business awards, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of Aer Lingus establishing a Belfast base.

“The very fact that we created this programme so soon after entering the market demonstrates the confidence we have in Northern Irish businesses, many of whom are competing among the best on a global scale.

“Having participated on the judging panel for several years, I've been amazed at what some of our local companies are doing – and it's not just the ‘big' players either, there are some incredible small businesses which are innovating and delivering world class goods and services.

“I'd encourage businesses of any size to get your entry in. It's a great way to benchmark yourself against other successful companies and to gain a bit of recognition and celebrate a job well done,” she added.

Since first launching in 2008, Aer Lingus' business awards have celebrated in excess of 100 of Northern Ireland's best businesses.

Judged by a panel of esteemed figures from business organisations and media in Northern Ireland, the Aer Lingus TakeOff Foundation Business Awards are considered one of the premier events on the professional calendar.

Last year's winners included the Deluxe Group, Equi-Nutritive, CDEnviro, MJM Group, Babocush, Mount Charles, John Toner (WIS Group) and Allstate.

Excellence in Marketing is a new award category for this year, with the others being Innovation of the Year, Exporter of The Year, Best SME, Best Business Start-Up, Business Person of the Year, Fast Growth Business, Lifetime Achievement and Overall.

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