12th Ballymena Business Awards launched

Interest in the Ballymena Business Awards “is stronger than ever” as they enter their 12th year, Chamber of Commerce President Alan Stewart has said.

Representatives of the sponsors who attended Thursday's launch of the 14th annual Business Excellence Awards at the Braid Arts Centre are seen here with Chamber President Alan Stewart, Mayor Ballymena Cllr Audrey Wales, Ian Paisley MP 9front left), chamber vice-president Ronan McCann (front fright), Deputy Mayor of Ballymena Cllr Hubert Nicholl (2nd front left), Chamber committee member Alison Moore (2nd front right).

Speaking in the Braid on Thursday at a reception to launch the 2014 awards which have Ballymena Borough Council as principal sponsor, Mr Stewart said they help celebrate the huge contribution made to the borough by the local business community.

He revealed that judging will again be carried out entirely independent of Chamber by Insight Mystery Shopping to ensure the integrity of the awards which he encouraged all local businesses to enter.

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“There are 21 categories so there is an award to suit everyone. I look forward to seeing you all at the Gala evening, said Mr Stewart who thanked all the awards sponsors and awards brochure supporters, in particular Ballymena Borough Council.

President of Ballymena Chamber of Commerce & Industry Alan Stewart was joined by Mayor of Ballymena Cllr Audrey Wales, Chamber members and guests at Thursday's launch of the 14th annual Business Excellence Awards at the Braid. Back row, L-R, Ian Paisley MP, Rodney Kernohan (Business Development Manager), Cllr Hubert Nicholl (Deputy Mayor of Ballymena), Roger McKnight (Acting Chief Executive of Ballymena Borough Council). Front L-R, Catherine Scott (Insight Mystery Shopping), Cll Audrey Wales, Alan Stewart, Allison Moore (Chamber of Commerce).

“Council has always been a great supporter of both the awards and Chamber in general and the working relationship between Council and Chamber is stronger now than it has ever been. I assure you that Chamber will do everything to make this year’s awards the most successful yet,” he said.

Ballymena Mayor, Audrey Wales MBE said: “As principal sponsor, Ballymena Borough Council remains committed to ensuring that each and every business within the Borough is provided with the assistance and support to grow and prosper ensuring the future prosperity of Ballymena.

“Council recognises the significant benefits commerce brings to an area and as a Council we lead the way in working in partnership with local businesses to bring mutual benefits to our borough. Ballymena Borough Council’s Corporate Plan 2012-2016 focuses on creating jobs, increasing skills and education, growing our local economy, improving health and wellbeing of our citizens, delivering quality, value for money services and continuing to invest in a strong and shared future for the people and place of the Borough of Ballymena. This clearly indicates our commitment to Ballymena, making it a great place to be.

“I commend Ballymena Borough Chamber of Commerce and Industry for their dedication in organising this significant event again for the twelfth year and in their ability in gaining more and more participation each year.”

The entrants will find out if they’ve won at the Gala Awards evening which will take place on October 30 in Tullyglass House Hotel.

This year’s categories and respective sponsors are -

Customer Service Awards Sector - Independent Retailer First Trust

Customer Service Awards Sector - Multiple Retailer Power NI

Customer Service Awards - Convenience Store K&G McAtamney’s

Customer Service Award - Service Sector Riada Resourcing

Customer Service Award - Hospitality Sector Autoline

Best Eating Establishment Award Marcon Fit Out

Best Small Eatery/Coffee Shop Award firmus energy

Business Premises Award Fairhill Centre

Best Business Website Award Danske Bank

Excellence in Customer Service Award JTI

Right Place to Work Award Black Advertising

Most Promising New Business Award Ballymena Business Centre

Best Small Business Award Michelin Tyre PLC

Export Business of the Year Wrightbus

Innovation Award Invest NI

Involvement in the Community Award Diamond Recruitment

Entrepreneur of the Year Award Bank of Ireland

Apprentice of the Year Award Northern Regional College

Employee of the Year Award Grafton Recruitment

Business Growth Award Ulster Bank

Commitment to Ballymena Award Ballymena Borough Council