Small Business of the Year Award from  Des Moore, Head of First Trust at the Business Eye First Trust Small Business Awards at the La Mon Hotel, Belfast. Also in the photograph is X Factor singer Jay James.
Small Business of the Year Award from Des Moore, Head of First Trust at the Business Eye First Trust Small Business Awards at the La Mon Hotel, Belfast. Also in the photograph is X Factor singer Jay James.

Oasis Travel, one Northern Ireland’s largest independent travel agencies with five branches across the country, has been named Northern Ireland’s Small Business of the Year at the inaugural Business Eye First Trust Bank Small Business Awards.

Oasis Travel took the top award at the brand new event on the Northern Ireland business calendar which took place at La Mon House Hotel & Country Club recently.

The Awards, organised by Business Eye magazine and sponsored by First Trust Bank, awarded top small business performers across 12 different categories. They were open to all businesses in Northern Ireland with less than 50 employees.

Sandra Corkin, Managing Director of Oasis Travel, is thrilled at this latest accolade which she attributes to a combination of expertise and a genuine commitment to personal service.  She says, “The champagne corks were certainly popping at the awards ceremony, but we’re not about to rest on our laurels!  When a customer comes to us to book a holiday, whether it’s a fabulous once-in-a-lifetime cruise or a modest weekend escape, they are putting their trust in us.  We have to help them find the break that best suits their tastes, aspirations and budget … and give them the high level of personal service that they have every right to expect.

“At Oasis Travel we like to think that the relaxation of a holiday starts with us and our mantra is that we do the hard work so that our customers don’t have to!

“We have an amazing team, each member of which has a passion for travel matched only by their passion for perfection!  Keeping on top of innovations within our industry is which have given us the edge over the years, but I feel very strongly that travel is very much a people business and, at Oasis Travel, we simply have great people.  I am delighted to congratulate all of our staff for the contribution they have made to this great achievement … and of course a big thank you to all our wonderful customers at the heart of our business.”

The Manufacturing Business of the Year Award went to Bangor-based personalised garment makers The Signature Works, while Atlas Communications came out on top in the Technology Business of the Year category.

Squeeze Wheatgrass lifted the Agri-Food Business Award with Newry-based online specialists The Rug House adding the Exporter of the Year title to its growing collection of awards.

The award for Customer Focus went to Fusion Heating while Employers for Childcare took the Community Contribution title.

Head of First Trust Bank, Des Moore, said that both the quantity and quality of the entries had surpassed expectations in the very first year of the Small Business Awards.

“At First Trust Bank, we’re committed to supporting the small business sector here in Northern Ireland because we know that those businesses are critically important to driving the economy forward. We believe that we need to do more to celebrate business success here and wanted to shine a light on our many excellent small businesses to hold them up as role models for their peers. The standard, diversity, innovation and entrepreneurial drive were not only exciting but really encouraging for the local economy and we want to congratulate all of the entrants and winners.”

Brenda Buckley, Publisher of Business Eye, said:

“We’ve always been aware of a high level of interest in other awards that we manage from the small business community, so we decided that it was high time they had awards of their own….dedicated to Northern Ireland’s many small businesses.

“And the interest these new awards have received from small businesses across every sector and from every part of Northern Ireland has been exceptional. We’re confident that they’ll become an integral part of the business calendar.”


Full List of Winners:


Agri-Food Business of the Year – Squeeze Wheatgrass

Community Contribution Award – Employers for Childcare

Customer Focus Award – Fusion Heating

Exporter of the Year – The Rug House

Healthcare Business of the Year – Dunmurry Dental Practice

Hospitality & Tourism Business of the Year – Game of Thrones Winterfell Tours

Innovative Business of the Year – Core Systems & Innov8 Office Interiors (joint winners)

Manufacturing Business of the Year – The Signature Works

Small Business Marketing Award – Abacus Professional Recruitment

Start-Up Business of the Year – Ingenuity

Technology Business of the Year – Atlas Communications

Small Business of the Year – Oasis Travel

Love Belfast
Belfast guide to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, concerts, events, hotels, entertainment, special offers, news, gossip, travel, festivals and culture. http://lovebelfast.co.uk

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