Award categories & criteria

Small Business of the year

THE PREMIER CATEGORY WITHIN THE SMALL BUSINESS AWARDS, THIS AWARD IS AIMED AT THE NORTHERN IRELAND-BASED SMALL BUSINESS ENTERPRISE WITH 50 EMPLOYEES OR LESS WHICH, IN THE OPINION OF THE JUDGES, EXEMPLIFIES BEST PRACTICE AND ACHIEVEMENT ACROSS THE BOARD IN TERMS OF BUSINESS PERFORMANCE, MANAGEMENT, CUSTOMER FOCUS AND RESULTS. ENTRIES FOR THIS PREMIER AWARD CATEGORY CAN BE MADE DIRECTLY TO THIS CATEGORY BUT WINNING ENTRIES IN ALL OTHER CATEGORIES WILL ALSO BE CONSIDERED FOR THE TOP AWARD.

Sponsored by:

Healthcare Business of the year

Another specialist category, aimed at small business enterprises in the healthcare field here in Northern Ireland. This category is open to all business-led healthcare related organisations including opticians, dental practices and enterprises such as care homes for the elderly.

Sponsored by:

Independent Retailer of the Year

A new category for 2017, this award will set out to recognise a leading player from Northern Ireland's traditionally strong independently-owned retail sector. The category is open to locally-owned retail businesses, including both single site retailers and independent retail groups who meet the overall Small Business Awards critera, ie 50 employeers or less.

Sponsored by:

MANUFACTURING Business of the year

A category open to all companies with 50 employees or less engaged directly in the manufacture of products for sale in Northern Ireland and in export markets. The judges will look for evidence of research and development as well as innovation in manufacturing.

Sponsored by:

Technology Business of the year

This award is open to all small businesses based in Northern Ireland who provide products and/ or services in the wider technology field, including IT services, software development, technology product innovation and consultancy.

Sponsored by:

Customer Focus Award

Our judging panel will single out the local small business which most effectively brings to life best practice in customer service across all of its operations. The judges will look for clear evidence of customer satisfaction.

Sponsored by:

Agrifood Business of the year

Northern Ireland's leading small business operating in the agri-food sector, to include food and drink producers, farm-based enterprises and companies providing products and services to the agri-food industry here.

Sponsored by:

Innovative Business of the year

Open to companies operating in any business sector, this award will go to the organisation which best illustrates the most effective use of innovation through investment in innovative practices, leading edge products and/or services to contribute to overall business success.

Sponsored by:

Small Business Marketing Award

Open to companies in all sectors of the local business community, this award sets out to recognise and showcase the organisation which best uses marketing – including advertising, PR or the strategic use of digital platforms and social media - to enhance business performance across the board.

Sponsored by:

Exporter of the year

An award which will recognise the top achieving exporting company from Northern Ireland's small business community, recognising sales achievement in all markets outside of Northern Ireland itself, including both the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.

Sponsored by:

Community Contribution Award

Despite smaller budgets, corporate responsibility plays an important role for small businesses in Northern Ireland. This special award will recognise the best example of how small businesses here can help to make a difference in the communities they serve.

Sponsored by:

Hospitality & Tourism Business of the Year

A special category aimed directly at Northern Ireland's growing number of small tourism and hospitality-related business enterprises, including pubs, restaurants, cafes, smaller hotels, tourism activity businesses and transport and travel providers.

Sponsored by:

Start-Up Business of the Year

Aimed at Northern Ireland's most promising start-up enterprise, the award will go to a young company of one year old or less since which, in the view of the judging panel, best illustrates what can be achieved by start-up businesses across any sector here in Northern Ireland.

Sponsored by:


SMALL BUSINESSES IN THE SPOTLIGHT....FOR THIRD YEAR RUNNING


Northern Ireland's only dedicated awards aimed at the small business sector will take place once again this June. Business Eye has joined forces with lead sponsors First Trust Bank for the third year in succession to stage the Business Eye First Trust Bank Small Business Awards. The awards move to a new venue this year, and will be held for the first time at Belfast's Crowne Plaza Hotel on Thursday, 15th June, 2017. The previous two Business Eye First Trust Bank Small Business Awards have been hugely successful, and have established a place for themselves in the annual business calendar. For 2017, an expanded total of 13 different categories will be open to businesses based in Northern Ireland with 50 employees or less. As well as crowning a headline Small Business of the Year, other categories include awards for the top performers in key sectors such as agri food, technology, tourism & hospitality and manufacturing. A brand new award this year will recognise Northern Ireland's leading Independent Retailer of the Year. Hundreds of entries are anticipated across the 13 categories and the winners will be chosen by a panel of judges led by the Head of First Trust Bank, Des Moore, and Business Eye's Richard Buckley. Closing date for entries is Friday 5th May and local small businesses can enter via the dedicated awards website – www.businesseyeawards.co.uk Speaking about the third year of the Awards, Des Moore, Head of First Trust Bank said; “Small businesses account for the vast majority of the private sector here in Northern Ireland and are therefore critically important to the future growth and rebalancing of the local economy. “These awards have established themselves very quickly as part of the business fabric here in Northern Ireland - awards that small businesses across every sector are striving to win. “Most importantly, though, they celebrate success and showcase the achievements of our small businesses. “First Trust Bank works with a wide range of small and medium sized enterprises across Northern Ireland, we are excited about joining with Business Eye for a third year to shine a spotlight on our top performers and we're very much looking forward to another memorable awards night in June.” Richard Buckley, Editor of Business Eye, says that the new awards have filled a gap in the business awards calendar here. “Our small businesses used to have to compete with the big names in the business world in most of the awards which exist on the local stage, including our very own UTV Business Eye Awards. “These awards give small businesses right across the spectrum the chance to go head to head with businesses of a similar size and scale, and over the past two years, they've produced some very worthy winners.”