Digital entrepreneurs set for big awards bash

Pictured ahead of the annual Digital DNA Awards, which will be held in St Anne’s Cathedral on April 26, are Sean Devlin (MCS Group) and Simon Bailie (Digital DNA) with Zoe Salmon, presenter and host of the awards evening

THE short list for the Digital DNA Awards 2018 has been revealed after the competition - which culminates at an awards ceremony on Thursday April 26 in Belfast's St Anne’s Cathedral - received a record number of entries.

The awards, held in partnership with MCS Group, recognise the companies and individuals which are excelling in the world of technology and has once again unveiled a wealth of innovation and talent from companies large and small, as well as some outstanding individuals.

Digital DNA’s commercial director Simon Bailie said: “We had more entries than ever before and the quality was so high the judges had a tough time choosing the short list, which reflects a rich and varied technology sector which could compete with anywhere in the world with a level of innovation which is superb.”

Ellvena Graham, one of the judges, said: “The process of narrowing down the short list has been an extremely enriching experience. The quality of entrants was so high we had to extend the short list from three to six and it was particularly exciting to see smaller companies coming through who have begun to scale up and become big players, adding a breadth of high value jobs to the Northern Irish economy. We were also really pleased to see so many fantastic male and female entrepreneurs.”

Peter Craven, another of the judges, added: “The extended short list is testimony to the quality of the entrants. It was particularly exciting to see such a wide range of sectors represented. It’s been fantastic to hear the great stories that are out there and we look forward to hearing more of these in years to come.

"These awards are a celebration of the great talent in Northern Ireland’s tech sector and hopefully, they encourage more and more people to put themselves forward in years to come as they hear the great work their counterparts are doing in the industry.”

The awards (whose other sponsors include PwC, Flint Studios, esri Ireland and Barclay’s Eagle Labs) will be hosted by presenter Zoe Salmon and comedian Andrew Ryan. The finalists in each category are:

• App of the year - Big Motive (BBC Pandemic), Danske (Danske Life), Golf Now (BRS Golf Member Booking), Origin Digital (Kingspan), Trov (Trov), Unislim and GC.

• Developer of the Year - Colin Young (Dawson Andrews), Dominic Hourican (Allstate NI), Keith Greer (Web Bureau), Mark O’Neill (Cayan), Stephen Philips (Hurree), Steven Knox (Wholesale Software).

• Best Digital Marketing Campaign - Babocush (Digital 24), Danske Bank (Making more possible) , Lighthouse (George Best Belfast City Airport), Origin Digital (Firmus), Spar NI (12 days of Christmas), Velocity Worldwide (Sport Changes Life).

• Digital Project of the Year - Allstate (Uber Technologies), Cayan(Genius Smart P2PE), Danske (Making more possible), Dawson Andrews (The Dumbest Chatbot), Eyekiller (Kitchen Stori).

• E-Commerce Project of the Year - Dawson Andrews (Toyrus), Eyekiller (Wave and Wake), I3 Digital & JP Corry, Kukooon Rugs, ProtectBox, Total Hockey.

• Start-up of the Year - Afterbook, Huree, Neurovalens, Pitchbooking, Protectbox, Trov.

• Best Small Tech Company - Allsop, Analytics Engines, IRP Commerce, Rakuten Blockchain Lab, Salt DNA, Zymplify.

• Young Person of the Year - Aaron Gibson (Huree), Adam Flanaghan (Future Summits), John Bailie (SaltDNA), Kelly Moore (Kainos), Neil Kennedy (Big Pixel Creative), Ruth Derby (Tomorrow Lab).

• Entrepreneur of the year - David Henderson (David Henderson Design), Gareth McAllister (Nimbus CS), Jason McKeown (Neurovalens), Mark Dowds (Trov), Naomh McElhatton (SMARTNI and DANI Awards), Nuala Murphy (Moment Health/LeanIn).

• Best Large Tech Company - Cayan, Kainos, Neueda, Novosco, SQS NI, StatSports Group.

• Business Personality of the Year - David Henderson (David Henderson Design), Inga Norvilyte (Love Belfast), Mark Dowds (Trov), Naomh McElhatton (SMARTNI and DANI Awards), Patrick McAliskey (Novosco), Paula Kennedy Garcia (Convergys).

• Company of the Year - Allstate NI, Cayan, Danske, Kainos, Neueda, Novosco, SQS NI.

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