The ‘get up and go’ of dynamic businesses from across the island of Ireland will be celebrated in a unique annual awards scheme which is launched for 2010 today.
This year’s Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards will recognise the enterprising accomplishments of businesses of all types and sizes through provincial heats and an all-island final.
Run in Northern Ireland in association with The Belfast Telegraph, and supported by Invest Northern Ireland and InterTrade Ireland, the scheme has eight categories for businesses of various sectors and stages of development.
Entries can be made until the end of November, with the Ulster final taking place at the end of January and the grand final in Dublin in April.
Last year, Northern Ireland firms Kestrel Foods of Portadown and Newry-based First Derivatives won all-island awards in the scheme, collecting the Agriculture Food and Drink Award and a Special Recognition Award respectively. This followed Mash Direct of Comber winning one of the coveted all-island gongs in 2008.
Entries are open to established businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs whose companies have achieved success, development and growth.
Businesses can enter up to two categories from the following:
• One-to-Watch Award
• International Business Award
• Social Entrepreneurship Award
• Best Business Start-up Award
• Family Run Business Award
• Green Business Award
• Agriculture Food and Drink Award
• Emerging Technology Award
The overall winner will receive a comprehensive prize package including an Executive Education programme at Harvard University Business School, €50,000 worth of advertising space in the Irish Independent, a business laptop and two years membership of the Institute of Directors.
Provincial and category winners will receive a number of prizes including entry into the national awards, coverage in the Irish Independent or Belfast Telegraph and a dedicated profile page on the awards website.
Provincial award Winners will be announced in January, with the overall Ulster Bank Business Achiever and category winners announced in April.
Speaking at the launch of the awards, Ulster Bank Head of Business Banking in Northern Ireland, Henry Elvin, said: “We want to support small and medium-sized businesses in Northern Ireland to drive the recovery of the economy by helping them be creative, enterprising and dynamic”.
“We think that recognising the achievements and the ‘get up and go’ of good businesses is an important part of that. We’ve had some excellent Northern Ireland companies entering and winning in the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards and we very much look forward to this year’s scheme.”
Carol Keery, Director at Invest NI, said: “For local firms to maintain a competitive market position and ensure a sustainable future, it is vital they embrace innovation, reduce costs and implement measures of continuous improvement, regardless of the impact the recession has had on their business.
“These awards are an opportunity to acknowledge the focus and commitment of Northern Ireland companies who are working to achieve enterprise excellence.”
This year’s awards are also supported by SmallBusinessCan.com. Powered by Ulster Bank, SmallBusinessCan is an independent business support resource for small businesses and entrepreneurs to source and share knowledge, insights and contacts to help them grow their own businesses.
Companies will be judged on a variety of merits including sales performance, market share growth, company milestones, innovative new products or services and successful achievements by key personnel.
The Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards are open for entry at www.businessachieversaward.com