North Antrim entrepreneurs recognised at Business Awards Gala Event

THE winners of the 2011 North Antrim Business Awards were announced on Friday night at the Awards Gala Event which was held in Lissanoure Castle

The night which was hosted by Paul Clark was another massive success for Accelerate Business Support Agency Ltd who organised the North Antrim Business Awards.

Representatives from local businesses as well as sponsors attended the night, and they weren’t disappointed! The spectacular Lissanoure glistened as the crème de le crème of North Antrim entrepreneurs received awards.

Speaking at the Gala Event North Antrim Ian Paisley Jnr congratulated the local business community on their achievements, and he added: “During these tough economic times local businesses are the lifeblood of the economy, and the finalists here tonight should all be commended for your enterprise and hard work.

“It’s the entrepreneurs here tonight who create the jobs and employment in the North Antrim economy, and you are the people who play such a vital role for North Antrim, both today and tomorrow.”

Alex McGotthigan from Principle Sponsor AMG Independent Financial Services and Property Sales added to Ian Paisley Jnr’s words of congratulations, adding: “Even in these tough times it is very encouraging to see so many businesses celebrating their success. From our company’s own perspective Daniel and I know it is only the hard work and perseverance of each individual, that has enabled us to, not only survive, but to expand to where we are today.”

The awards were organised by Marc McGerty from Accelerate Business Support Agency. Also speaking at the Gala Event Marc said: “After organising a very successful Awards Programme in Roe Valley in November 2010 I was approached by a number of businesses who wanted to see a Business Awards initiative up an going again in North Antrim.

“Shortly after we agreed to help we all got out our calendars and spoke the Events Team in Lissanoure Castle, and we booked the Gala Event for the last weekend in the financial year.

“Over the past 4 years I’ve been involved in 5 Business Awards initiatives, and the feedback from each of these Awards Programmes has been that it helped bring a buzz and energy back to the local business community, so we very quickly got to work to create the 2011 North Antrim Business Awards.

“You probably know as well as I do the North Antrim economy has taken a hard beating over the past few years, with the global recession and collapse of the construction market the North Antrim economy is on its knees and times are tough, very tough.

“Gathered here this evening are many of the region’s top entrepreneurs and business brains, and it’s up to us to make things happen. We’re the ones who will get North Antrim onto the road to recovery, and we’re the ones that will reap the rewards in years to come.”

In all there were 21 Awards, including 3 Legacy Awards, and some businesses managed to receive more than one award on the night.

The Legacy Award winners were The Dowds Group who won the Lifetime Achievement Award, Anne Bowen MBE from Ardclinis who won the Business Personality of the Year Award, and Jonathan McAuley from SJ McAuley Engineering who won Entrepreneur of the Year.

Causeway Hotel and Millside Restaurant won the Employer of the Year with Stephanie Gray winning the Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Red Bay Boats won the Best Export Business, with the Manager Gary Fyfe winning the Manager of the Year Award.

Other winners included Ronan Donnelly from RPD Roofing and Industrial Cladding who won Best New Business, Kelly Landscape and Stone who won Best Small Business, and Christies Direct who won Best Growth Business.

Breege McCauley won Best Family Business for McAuley Car Dismantlers, and Best Rural Business was jointly won by Ballyeamon Eggs and Glenview Foods.

McAtamneys Butchers won Best Business Premises for their new shop in Ballymoney, The Himalayan Adventure Company won Marketing Excellence, and Groundsman Industries won the Excellence in Innovation Award.

Best Eating Establishment was won by Tartine at the Distillers Arms, and Ground Espresso Bar won the Excellence in Customer Service Award for the Tourism and Hospitality Sector.

Floral Chic won the Excellence in Customer Service Award for the Retail Sector, and AMG Independent Financial Services & Property Sales won the Excellence in Customer Service Award for the Service Sector.

The Social Enterprise of the Year went to Can Can Recycling, and the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to Johnny McCamphill from EventCo.