North's top family firms to have their own awards initiative

Launching the Business Eye Family Business Awards are the magazine's editor and commercial director Richard and Brenda Buckley with Edel Creery (NIE Networks) and Darren McDowell (Harbinson Mulholland). Picture: Kelvin Boyes

THE north's leading family-owned firms are to be recognised in their own business awards this May.

Business Eye magazine, which for the last 15 years has been behind the AIB Business Eye Awards, stages its inaugural Family Business Awards alongside lead sponsors NIE Networks and in association with family business specialists Harbinson Mulholland.

“Northern Ireland has a strong family business sector, from some of our very largest companies to a network of SMEs across every sector,” Business Eye's commercial director Brenda Buckley said.

“The family business category at our annual Business Eye Awards has always attracted our largest and more diverse entry by some distance, so we feel the time is right for Northern Ireland's many family businesses to have their own awards scheme, and that their achievements can be showcased and recognised.”

There will be 14 categories covering areas such as manufacturing, tourism & hospitality, retail and emerging business, and there will be individual awards aimed at high-achieving family business owners and leaders.

NIE Networks' head of stakeholder engagement Edel Creery, said: “In what has been a turbulent few years for all businesses, these awards are a fitting opportunity to showcase the resilience of family-owned firms from every sector.

“We know how important it is to support and champion businesses in the vibrant family business community.”

Darren McDowell, senior partner at Harbinson Mulholland, added: “The family businesses we work with have faced down the challenges of the last few years with typical resilience.

“The ability of this sector to tap into the family values that run deep in their organisations will make them a powerful and vital part of the economic recovery, and it's right that we should celebrate the contribution this sector makes to the wider economy.”

Entries remain open at until Friday April 15, with the gala awards night planned for Thursday May 19 at the Culloden Estate & Spa.

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