Business diary: Events coming up

Your weekly run-down of business conferences and awards

Business diary
Pictured launching Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2024 are William Irvine from the Ulster Farmers’ Union, who host the initiative, Richard Primrose from title sponsor Bank of Ireland, and Ilse Van Staden, butcher at Ballylagan Organic Farm in Straid, which is one of 20-plus farms from across the north participating in this year’s event, which is free to attend over Father’s Day weekend, June 14-16


Open Farm Weekend, one of Northern Ireland’s largest free awareness initiatives, takes place in June with Bank of Ireland returning as title sponsor.

The event, led by the Ulster Farmers’ Union, will feature 21 working farms from across the region, shining a spotlight on crucial issues such as food poverty, sustainability, and farm safety.

Scheduled for Father’s Day Weekend, Friday June 14 to Sunday June 16, Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend is expected to attract up to 20,000 visitors eager to participate in a diverse program of free activities.

The weekend welcomes visitors of all ages to enjoy a variety of engaging activities and have a chance to connect with the vibrant farming community. It aims to bridge the gap between urban and rural communities, providing an opportunity for people to gain insight into the agricultural sector and witness first-hand the origins of their food.

With participating farms in every county, the event provides a unique opportunity for the public, regardless of their location, to gain valuable insights into the life of a working farm.

Farms participating in Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend either on the Friday Schools’ Day and/on the Saturday and Sunday public days (list subject to change) include Armagh Apple Farm, Ballygudden Farm, Ballylagan Organic Farm, Beatties Glenpark Farm, Bessvale Farm, Brook Hall Estate & Gardens, Broughgammon Farm, Bullsbrook, CAFRE Greenmount and CAFRE Enniskillen, Chestnutt Farms, Churchview Farm, Craighall Farm, The Clarke Family Farm, Donagh Cottage Farm, Gilfresh Produce, Highglen Farm, Hollow Farm, Jubilee Farm, Laurel View Farm and Lislagan Farm.

The most up to date information can be found at

Business Diary
Winners at the 2023 Women in Tech Awards. This year's event takes place on May 23, with the deadline for entries being Monday April 8


Women innovators working in the north’s tech sector are being encouraged to enter the 2024 Women in Tech Awards before the deadline of Monday April 8.

Now in their third year, the awards are sponsored by Vanrath and hosted by Women in Business as the only ceremony of its kind in Northern Ireland.

More than 300 guests from all business sectors will come together in Belfast’s Europa Hotel on May 23 to recognise and reward the innovative individuals changing the local tech sector for the better.

New to the 2024 Women in Tech Awards is the Outstanding Apprentice category. Sponsored by Version 1, it will be awarded to a best-in-class individual who demonstrates exemplary effort, commitment and achievement within any type of apprenticeship programme in the north’s tech sector.

Women in Business managing director Lorraine Acheson said: “2023 proved a record year for Northern Ireland’s tech sector, with data from Catalyst confirming investment into local firms last year blew past £143 million, the highest-ever figure recorded.

“Our Women in Tech Awards ceremony is all about championing the talented women at the forefront of that growth trajectory. Those talented individuals who in their positive contribution to the local economy have helped cement NI’s status as a world-leading tech hub. We must continue in our work to enable women more broadly and drive forward the tech industry on its journey to greater gender parity.

“Off the back of our seventh Women in Tech Conference, the momentum for these awards is continuing to build and I am look forward to seeing the wealth of talent coming through in the applications.”

For more details visit

Business Diary
Launching the 2024 Business Awards at Belfast’s Custom House are (from left) Paul McClurg, head of Belfast Business Banking at Bank of Ireland UK, broadcaster and launch event host Jo Scott, and Belfast Chamber president Gavin Annon


The ninth edition of the Belfast Chamber Business Awards will take place in a glittering ceremony at Titanic Belfast on Friday October 18.

The highly anticipated event will showcase Belfast’s business success stories with 22 competitive categories ranging from business innovation and best new business to best company to work for and the diversity and inclusion award.

Speaking at the launch, Belfast Chamber president Gavin Annon said: “From cutting-edge start-ups to well established firms, the entrepreneurial spirit within our city knows no bounds. With an unparalleled flair for innovation, our local businesses are continuously evolving to meet changing demands and seize untapped opportunities, driving their products and services into global markets.

“This year, we are again committed to honouring the finest companies across a range of categories, recognising their outstanding performance, innovative practices, exceptional service, and the invaluable contributions of their workforce.

“I would encourage all eligible businesses to participate in these prestigious awards. Submitting your application is free and easy. Simply visit the Belfast Chamber website at before the deadline on Friday September 6.”


The 2024 Northern Ireland Beauty Excellence Awards return in June, with organisers calling for entries, which includes four new categories such as sustainable business of the year and nurse-led aesthetics clinic.

The 2024 awards ceremony will also welcome four new judges to the professional panel who have had a huge impact on the local and global beauty industries.

The awards recognise and celebrate the success and achievements of the aesthetics, beauty and hair industries across Northern Ireland. The award categories, which are now open, are free to enter and are open to any beauty, hair salon or aesthetics clinic, training school or business within the Northern Ireland beauty industry.

Entries close on Friday April 12 and the awards, hosted by Pamela Ballantine MBE, take place on Saturday June 15 at the Crowne Plaza, Belfast. More details at