BELFAST CHAMBER BUSINESS AWARDS CELEBRATES THE BEST OF BELFAST BUSINESS AS IT BOUNCES BACK FROM CHALLENGING YEAR

It was a night of reward and recognition for some of the best businesses in Northern Ireland, as Belfast Chamber hosted its 2021 Business Awards on Friday night at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Shaw’s Bridge.

The Awards, which was once again sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK, was a chance for over 400 people to come together to celebrate the many accomplishments and achievements of the past year.

The glittering Awards ceremony spanned 22 categories, with Awards ranging from the Technology Business Award won by Halo Technologies and the Business Innovation Award won by Axial3D to Fish City securing the Best Eatery and Sawers scooping the Best Coffee Shop.

Speaking after the 2021 Business Awards, Belfast Chamber President Michael Stewart said,“The past 18 months have been a time like no other for all us as individuals, as businesses and as a society. But here we are, slowly but surely back on the path to normality.  We salute everyone.  Our health service, the scientists, those in business who kept the wheels turning.  Everyone who made such unbelievable efforts to help us through the dark days of the pandemic and get us safely to the other side.

Belfast has known adversity before.  The Troubles, the Primark fire. You name it, we’ve gone through it.  But no matter how much things change.  Regardless of what the new challenge we face is.  One thing remains a constant and that’s the ability of businesses in Belfast to weather and withstand whatever is thrown at it.

The 2021 Belfast Chamber Business Awards presented the perfect opportunity to recognise that spirit of dusting ourselves down and getting on with it that is so synonymous with Belfast.  If our city’s business community was a stick of Portrush rock, the word that would run through us is resilient.

What has amazed me though isn’t that we have come together as a city to survive this latest threat but that business across Belfast has thrived.  They’ve more than just bounced back.  They’ve built back better and stronger.  Companies like FinTrU who won our Business Success Award and Aflac NI who were the 2021 Best Company to Work For.  Businesses from all parts of our city such as best Family Business winner City Office NI from south Belfast and Best Creative Business Penelope Flowers based in east Belfast.  And entrepreneurs like Sam Shephard, our Young Businessperson of the Year winner and the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Trevor Annon, the Chairman and Owner of The Mount Charles Group.

Tonight, we said a resounding ‘well done’ to those who have, in spite of all the hurdles they’ve had to overcome, have opened new businesses, who have developed new ideas, who have grown their companies, who have looked after their teams and who have helped the community they’re based in.  That is the innovative, successful and compassionate business community that Belfast Chamber is so proud to be the voice of”.

Michael Stewart concluded,“A positive transformation is indeed happening in our city.  Our streets are coming alive again. We have a new university campus opening in the heart of the city.  A new transport hub is on its way. Investments in more student accommodation, city centre living, another Glider route, a world class tourism destination and more and more and more are either on the ground already or in the pipeline.  Sometimes the change we crave doesn’t happen as fast as we would like.  We are impatient in the pursuit of our full potential.  But as someone who has lived in this city all my life and known it in far, far worse times, believe me when I say that Belfast’s time has come.  This is our era. Our city is back and back big time”.

Paul McClurg, Head of Business Banking Belfast at Bank of Ireland UK continued, “Bank of Ireland UK is delighted to once again be the principal sponsor of the Belfast Chamber Business Awards 2021 for the sixth consecutive year and to be part of these extra special celebrations this evening.

Despite the most challenging trading period in recent history, Belfast businesses have once again shown their resilience and have created some exceptional results under extreme pressure.  Tonight’s event cements the commitment of Belfast businesses for a strong recovery of the local economy and we at Bank of Ireland UK are committed to helping that in any way we can”. 

Paul continued, “We would like to congratulate each and every one of the truly inspirational companies who have taken home awards tonight and indeed to those shortlisted.”

FULL LIST OF AWARD WINNERS:

Best New Business Idea (sponsored by Bauer Media NI) – Doggie Play Ltd

Best Dementia Friendly Business (sponsored by Age Friendly Belfast) – Sync Living

Best Social Enterprise Award (sponsored by East Belfast Mission) – Orchardville

Best Business Premises (sponsored by Linen Quarter BID) – Urban HQ

Best Digital Business Award (sponsored by Exterion Media) – Obbi Solutions

Customer Service Excellence Award (sponsored by Specsavers) – Version 1

Outstanding Covid Response Award (sponsored by IceMOS Technology) – Vertigo Group

Best New Business Award (sponsored by Belfast One BID) – Fibrus

Business Innovation Award (sponsored by Power NI) – Axial 3D

Communication Excellence Award (sponsored by Ardmore) – AbbeyAutoline

Best Family Business Award (sponsored by Willis Insurance) – City Office NI

Best Eatery Award (sponsored by Belfast Chamber) – Fish City

Best Coffee Shop (sponsored by Belfast Chamber) – Sawers

Best Creative Business Award (sponsored by Destination CQ BID) – Penelope Flowers

Technology Business Award (sponsored by Belfast City Council) – Halo Technologies. 

Young Business Person of the Year Award (sponsored by Victoria Square) – Sam Sheppard from the Juice Jar Ltd

Green Champion Award (sponsored by Queens University Belfast) – Shoosmiths

Business Leader of the Year Award (sponsored by Value Cabs) – David Tighe of Bauer Media NI

Best Company to Work For Award (sponsored by Belfast Works) – Alfac Northern Ireland

Disability Initiative by an Employer Award (sponsored by The Equality Commission) – Now Group

Team of the Year Award (sponsored by CastleCourt) – NI Water

Business Success Award (sponsored by Grant Thornton) – FinTrU

Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK) – Trevor Annon, Mount Charles

Love Belfast
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