Now in its sixth year the event honours, at the highest professional level, those companies that have contributed significantly to the local economy and continue to forge strong economic ties between Northern Ireland, Great Britain and beyond.
The Awards in association with Ulster Business will recognise and promote excellence, best practice and innovation in the Northern Irish business community and will be held on 30th April 2014 in the prestigious surroundings of The Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, London.
Entries are now being sought across seven categories: Most Innovative Company; Best Large Business; Best Medium Business; Best Small Business; Entrepreneur of the Year; Exporter of the Year and the Aer Lingus Viscount Award for Overall Excellence.
Every business that enters will be considered by an esteemed judging panel of high-calibre businessmen and women acknowledged as leading experts from various industry sectors and senior members of the business media in Northern Ireland.
The judges will bring insightful analysis of global and regional business and economic issues and trends to the table and are uniquely qualified to objectively evaluate and score the submissions.
The 2014 judging panel comprises Andrea Hunter, Business Development Manager for Aer Lingus in Northern Ireland; Symon Ross, Editor of Ulster Business; Jeremy Fitch, Executive Director, Business Solutions Group at Invest NI; Colin Walsh, Chairman of CBI in Northern Ireland; Richard Sherriff, Business Editor of the News Letter; Gary McDonald, Business Editor of the Irish News; Francess McDonnell Business Columnist for Irish Times and Alan Taylor, Managing Partner at Arthur Cox.
Andrea Hunter, Business Development Manager, Aer Lingus in Northern Ireland said: “We are delighted to be at the helm of these prestigious awards, they are a wonderful illustration of Northern Ireland’s entrepreneurial spirit.
“We are looking for a diverse group of entrants, ranging from start-ups with flair to well established industries that have all innovated to survive and are thriving and expanding regardless of economic fragility.
“Aer Lingus is honoured to provide the gateway for businesses to connect with their Great British and global markets. Since establishing our base at George Best Belfast City Airport we have been connecting businessmen and women to both Heathrow and Gatwick directly from Belfast City, which further strengthens the crucial east-west economic relationship.
“Last year proved our most successful awards ever, the quality of submissions was staggeringly high and we are looking forward to raising the bar again this year.”
Jeremy Fitch, Invest NI’s Executive Director, Business Solutions Group, called upon Northern Ireland’s brightest businesses to take the opportunity to gain the recognition they deserve for the successes they have achieved in 2013.
“Last year we had the privilege of evaluating submissions of some of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic organisations. Just over 100 entries were received from an impressive array of small, medium and large businesses, representing a variety of industries and sectors.
“Entrepreneurs are the bedrock of a healthy economy, not only are they the engines for growth, but they are often at the cutting edge of business, providing creative ideas and services which revolutionise their sector.
“It is essential for the Northern Ireland economy to get more businesses exporting. We have seen a rise in exports to emerging economies and with signs of recovery in the US we hope to regain strength in our exports to this important market.
“We want to hear from small, medium and large sized businesses that have been able to break into new markets and develop new business opportunities through innovation and their export strategy,” Mr. Fitch said.
Entry forms can be found at http://viscountawards.ulsterbusiness.com
Launching the 2014 Aer Lingus Viscount Awards at George Best Belfast City Airport are Andrea Hunter, Business Development Manager for Aer Lingus in Northern Ireland with Symon Ross, Editor of Ulster Business.