Top award for Banbridge businessman Andrew

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A BANBRIDGE entrepreneur, named Young Business Person of the Year 2024, has admitted that winning the prestigious accolade is “still sinking in”.

Andrew McKee, managing director of Start Solar, was honoured at the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards, in partnership with Ulster Bank.

Winners were announced across 19 categories at a glittering awards ceremony last Thursday evening in Belfast’s Crowne Plaza Hotel.

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It was attended by around 500 people, including the Economy Minister Conor Murphy.

Start Solar's Andrew McKee with his award.Start Solar's Andrew McKee with his award.
Start Solar's Andrew McKee with his award.

Start Solar specialises in commercial and residential solar systems, as well as battery storage, EV charging points and energy auditing.

The business was established in 2020, when Andrew and his wife Suzie moved home from Australia.

“We initially rented a two-desk office in Lisburn and outgrew this within three months, moving to a larger premises on the Scarva Road in Banbridge,” he told the Chronicle.

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“We then outgrew this in one year and have since moved to an 11,000 sq ft combined office and warehouse.

Andrew and Suzie McKee at the awards ceremony.Andrew and Suzie McKee at the awards ceremony.
Andrew and Suzie McKee at the awards ceremony.

“We currently run one office in Northern Ireland, two offices in the Republic of Ireland and one office in Manchester, and have over 100 employees across the UK and Ireland.”

Commenting on the strengths of Start Solar, Andrew said: “Customer service is at the forefront and I believe this is what sets us apart in the competitive renewable energy market.

“We sell industry leading products that we source directly from the manufacturer in bulk, meaning our Solar PV systems are very competitively priced for customers.

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“Another strength of the business is having an excellent team of people around me that helps support and drive Start Solar forward.”

The Newry Road man is understandably “extremely proud” of what the business has achieved in such a short time.

“There are a lot of long hours and hard work, but it is very rewarding and I love what I do,” Andrew enthused.

“We plan to keep growing, creating more jobs and to be the main solar PV contractor throughout the UK and Ireland renowned for innovation and excellent customer service.”

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Being recognised by the wider business community in Northern Ireland is a huge honour for Andrew, both personally and professionally.

“I feel very privileged to have won this award. It still hasn't sunk in.

“As a young business person I feel this is the greatest accolade to win. It also highlights the outstanding work that goes on behind the scenes at Start Solar.”

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