'Ton-up' for Belfast as record-breaking 100 companies make cut in business awards

Preparing for the Belfast Business Awards in St Anne's Cathedral on April 27 are (seated) Paul McClurg (Bank of Ireland) and Michelle Greeves (Belfast Chamber of Trade) with event host Sarah Travers
Preparing for the Belfast Business Awards in St Anne's Cathedral on April 27 are (seated) Paul McClurg (Bank of Ireland) and Michelle Greeves (Belfast Chamber of Trade) with event host Sarah Travers

A RECORD 100 finalists have made the cut following the judging process for this year's Belfast Business Awards, which culminate with a ceremony on Friday April 27 at the iconic St Anne’s Cathedral.

The awards span 21 categories, ranging from retail, hospitality, digital marketing, sustainability, family-owned to growth and individual awards, as well as two new categories: small business coach /mentor of the year, and best technology-based business.

Organised and hosted by Belfast Chamber of Trade & Commerce and sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK, the awards have become synonymous with recognising, promoting and rewarding the excellence of Belfast-based companies.

Chamber of Trade president Michelle Greeves said: “We have been blown away by the sheer volume and exceptional quality of entries this year. We received almost double the number on previous years and the level is just outstanding - competition was extremely tough and reaching a short-listed was extremely difficult.

“Over the coming days and weeks, the finalists will undertake interviews with our panel of judges to decide the overall winners in each category.

“There will also be extensive mystery shopping for the customer service and hospitality-based categories, so I encourage everyone to do their very best to showcase their business and staff to their absolute best ability."

She added: “The awards night is a real highlight in the Chamber calendar and to have it in Saint Anne’s Cathedral this year is just fabulous. It is such an iconic building, steeped in history and architectural excellence and will be a night to truly celebrate, to network and to give yourself and team a well-deserved pat on the back.”

Paul McClurg, from Bank of Ireland said: “The sheer level of entries this year cements the fact that business and growth in Belfast and beyond is buoyant, it is positive and is definitely worth celebrating.

“We have been involved with these awards since they were relaunched in 2014 and have seen so many brilliant companies and individuals come together to showcase what really is exceptional business practice that both they and we should be very proud of.”

Paul concluded: “We look forward to the event on the 27th April and sharing the success of the winners.”

This is the full list of finalists:

• Customer Service Excellence (hospitality sector) - Cyprus Avenue, Espresso Elements, Fratelli Belfast, Odyssey Bowl, The Bake House, The Tipsy Bird.

• Best New Business - Groundswell Growth, John Bell House, Roar and Explore, Rose & Brimstone ,The Transfer Tutor ,TQ Park Ltd (Vertigo Indoor Skydiving).

• Customer Service Excellence (independent retailer) - Henderson Group, Kukoon Rugs, LearningSPACE, Rose & Brimstone, Seams Perfect, Uberfone.

• Best Marketing Initiative - MKB Law, Slim's Healthy Kitchen, SPAR NI - Henderson Group, The MAC, Translink,Victoria Square.

• Customer Service Excellence (professional business services) - Lowry Grace Consulting, MKB Law, PKF-FPM Accountants, CEF Electrical Company, Virgin Money, Webrecruit Ireland.

• Business Growth - Dawson Andrews, FinTrU, Jago Communications, Keenan Healthcare, Profile Tree, Selective Travel Management.

• Social Enterprise of the Year - ArtsEkta, GLL c/o. Shankill Leisure Centre, The Ortus Group, Ulster Supported Employment.

• Best Family Business - Arcadia Delicatessen, Fresh Garbage, Glandore, Majestic Kitchens & Bedrooms, Mascott Construction, The Morning Star.

• Best Company to work for - Bell & Company, FinTrU, George Best Belfast City Airport, GolfNow, PKF-FPM Accountants, White Ink Architects.

• Young Business Person of the Year (under-30) - Andrew Fulton (Dawson Andrews), Emma Gribben (Digital by Emma), Peter Bradley(Quinn's Belfast 2009), Robbie Bryson (RCITY Media), Peter Ringland (The Ringland Group), Ian Megahey (WorkPal).

• Best Business Premises - 88 Retail Ltd (ARC Units at Titanic), Café Parisien, GolfNow, Grant Thornton, Oasis Travel, Pinpoint Property.

• Employee of the year - Roisin Moss (Abacus Professional Recruitment), Diane Dyer (Bravissmo), Kimberley Lavery (Espresso Elements), Sandrine Escudie (Micro Focus), Kym Horner (MKB Law), Connor Mills (Uberfone).

• Involvement in the Community - Breastival Belfast, George Best Belfast City Airport, O'Reilly Stewart Solicitors, The Welcome Organisation, Ulster Bank, Women in Sport & Physical Activity).

• Business Person of the Year - Joanne Stuart (Catalyst Inc), Samuel J Anderson (Icemos Tehnology), Keith Graham (Selective Travel Management), Gareth Loye (Mascott Construction), Yusef Vesali (UCEF Electrical Company), Lorna McAdoo (Version 1).

• Best Creative Business - INVIZ, Lise McGreevy, Mammoth, NI Silver, Profile Tree, Titanic Denim.

• Best Digital Business - Digital Twenty Four, Fathom, Groundswell Growth, i3 Digital, SaltDNA, SQS Group.

• Best Age-Friendly Business - Shopmobility Belfast, Strand Arts Centre, Queen's Film Theatre, Marks & Spencer, Translink .

• Best coffee shop - Bob & Berts, Lisburn Road, Bob & Berts, Stranmillis Road, Espresso Elements , Guilt Trip Coffee + Donuts, Loaf Café & Bakery (NOW Group), The Bake House.

• Best Eatery - Café Parisien, Fish City Belfast, Havana Bank Sq, Slim's Healthy Kitchen, The Ivory Restaurant, Town Square (Ringland Group).

• Best Technology Business - Beezer, Clarity Locums, IRP Commerce, Simplicity Group, TapSOS, The Lava Group.