Business Diary: Events coming up

Your weekly run-down of business conferences and awards

Business Diary
Launching the Beauty Excellence Awards taking place on June 15 are (from left) : judges Pamela Kennedy and Yolanda Cooper with event host Pamela Ballantine (DARREN KIDD)


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.

“It is a sign of the continuous development of the industry that we’re adding new categories that reflect the high level of professionalism coming from beauty businesses in Northern Ireland,” says Sarah Weir, managing director of Weir Events and founder of the awards, which have grown significantly since they debuted in 2019.

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.

They are Co. Antrim’s Yolanda Cooper, trichologist and CEO of The Conscious Beauty Group; Lisburn’s Pamela Kennedy, founder of International Beauty Distribution & Training Academy and co-founder of the award-winning Tan Brush; and award-winning journalist and beauty editor Liz Dwyer and her sister Nikki Dwyer, who together created their business Future Beauty & Health, and co-host their aesthetics podcast, “Fess Up”.

The new faces will join makeup and skincare specialist Katrina Doran, who returns for a fourth year, alongside founder and former Vita Liberata chief executive Alyson Hogg MBE; nail expert and Renew Beauty, BioSculpture and Elim Educator, Ingrid Graham; principal dentist and owner of Martina Dental & Skin Clinic, Dr Martina Collins, all returning for their second year.

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

Business Diary
Chef Skye Gyngell, of Heckfield Place in Hampshire is one of the expert contributors at the Regenerative Hospitality Summit from May 5-8, co-hosted by Ulster University.


Ulster University is co-hosting the first Regenerative Hospitality Summit which will take place from May 5-8 in Transylvania, Romania, putting the spotlight on how regenerative practices within the industry can continue to enhance Northern Ireland’s reputation as a leading food and drink destination.

An international gathering of leading chefs, food and drink producers, tourism managers and academics, the summit will focus on how ‘regenerative impact’ can support cross sector collaboration, boost resilience and enhance business performance.

Expert contributors from different locations around the world, including chef Skye Gyngell, of Heckfield Place in Hampshire, will lead conversations about the need for hospitality to promote behavioural change, with respect to the climate crisis and cross-cultural understanding.

Hospitality and culinary arts management students from Ulster University will take a central role in proceedings by cooking alongside tv chef and author Romy Gill and Oxford Cultural Collective patron, chef Paul Bloomfield for the delegation throughout the three days.

Business Diary
Michele Shirlow, CEO of Food NI, will attend and speak at the first Regenerative Hospitality Summit in May, where Northern Ireland will be a key focus

Organisers are urging hospitality and tourism professionals from across Northern Ireland to attend, to share their unique experiences and perspectives and build alliances with delegates from elsewhere in the world to further enhance the region’s leading food and drink destination credentials.

Michele Shirlow, chief executive of Food NI, who will attend and speak at the event, said: “Our talented chefs and food and drink producers are increasingly shaping the image of Northern Ireland nationally and internationally. Whilst we know this is still a very tough time for hospitality operators, it remains vital that we think collectively about our future. The summit will give us the opportunity to learn from other locations around the world that have been through similar processes of change, which is invaluable.”

For more information and to book you place, visit

Business Diary
Launching the Momentum Conference taking place on Thursday April 18 are (from left) Brian Hegarty (ESB), Nigel Walsh (Ulster Bank), Suzanne Wylie (NI Chamber) and Peter McKay (BT) (DARREN KIDD)


Prominent figures including Economy Minister Conor Murphy and newly-appointed Invest NI chief executive Kieran Donoghue will address a new flagship economic conference, designed to accelerate collaboration between Northern Ireland’s businesses and local policy makers.

Delivered by the NI Chamber of Commerce in partnership with headline sponsor Ulster Bank and support partners BT and ESB, the Momentum event takes place on Thursday April 18 at the n Galgorm Resort in Ballymena.

The half-day event (8am-2pm) will feature a blend of keynote speeches and panel sessions from industry leaders and subject-matter experts, all focused on overcoming challenges and accelerating Northern Ireland’s competitive advantage through partnership.

A bespoke event programme has been designed around key focus areas including green growth, competitiveness, innovation and inclusivity.

Mr Murphy will outline details of his recently published Economic Vision which focuses on pillars including good jobs, raising productivity, regional balance and net zero, while Mr Donoghue will share his vision for Invest NI and its plans to unlock economic growth across the region.

Panel sessions will be a key component of the event, with contributions from businesses in a range of high-growth sectors including Encirc, Wrightbus and the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC).

The Momentum Conference is free for NI Chamber members and costs £75 for non-members. To register visit the NI Chamber website.