GALA EVENT – Thursday 19th May at the Culloden Estate & Spa

Business Eye, the region’s leading business magazine and the team behind the annual AIB Business Eye Awards (now in their 15th year), will stage the Business Eye Family Business Awards 2022 this summer alongside lead sponsors NIE Networks and in association with family business specialists Harbinson Mulholland.

“Northern Ireland has a really strong family business sector, from some of our very largest companies to a network of SMEs across every sector,” says Business Eye’s Brenda Buckley. “The Family Business category at our annual Business Eye Awards has always attracted our largest and more diverse entry by some distance.

“So we feel that the time is right, especially as we emerge from the Covid pandemic, for Northern Ireland’s many family businesses to have their very own awards scheme, and that their achievement can be showcased and recognised.”

A planned 13 categories will cover areas such as Manufacturing, Tourism & Hospitality, Retail and Emerging Business, and there will be individual awards aimed at high-achieving family business owners and leaders.

Head of Stakeholder Engagement at lead sponsor of the awards, NIE Networks, Edel Creery, said;

“NIE Networks is honoured to sponsor the inaugural Business Eye Family Business Awards. In what has been a turbulent few years for all businesses, the awards are a fitting opportunity to showcase the resilience of family owned businesses from every sector within Northern Ireland.

“We have such a vibrant family business community here. We know how important it is to support and champion those businesses – it’s something we do every day through our connections and business support work, whether for locally focussed start-ups or those expanding to global export.

“We are looking forward to seeing both up and coming businesses, together with established companies, vying to scoop the top spots and we would encourage all family businesses to enter now.”

Darren McDowell, Senior Partner at Harbinson Mulholland, added:

“The family businesses that we work with have faced down the challenges of the last few years with typical resilience. The ability of this sector to tap into the family values that run deep in their organisations will make them a powerful and vital part of the economic recovery.

“It’s right that we should celebrate the contribution that this sector makes to the wider NI economy, so we are delighted to be a part of this.”=

Family Business of the Year

Northern Ireland’s overall Family Business Of The Year in the opinion of our judging panel. This headline award will go to an outstanding family-owned business able to demonstrate achievement across the board over a number of years as well as a demonstrable contribution to the wider NI economy.

Sponsored by: NIE Networks

Emerging Family Business of the Year

A Northern Ireland-based family business which, in the opinion of the judging panel, has been making a real impression in its sector and which looks set for more success in the future.

Sponsored by: QUB Management School

Next Generation Family Business Leader

A second (third, fourth….) generation family member making a real impact either by leading the family business forward or by playing a significant senior management role.

Sponsored by: University of Ulster Business School

Employer of the Year

An NI-based family business leading the way in focusing on its employees, perhaps through employee benefits, initiatives and/or communicating effectively with its workforce.

Sponsored by: Alpha

Fastest Growing Family Business

A local family business from any sector able to demonstrate fast and sustained growth, most importantly in terms of turnover, over the past year to two years.

Sponsored by: Nimbus

CSR Family Business Of The Year

A family business of any size able to demonstrate a real commitment to corporate social responsibility. This could include charity initiatives, working at community level, encouraging staff to undertake voluntary projects, and other CSR activities.

Sponsored by: The Community Foundation

Retail Family Business of the Year

A Northern Ireland based family retail active in any area of retail from supermarkets through to smaller, local retail outlets.

Sponsored by: 

Manufacturing Excellence Award

An NI-based family business at the leading edge of manufacturing across any sector. Evidence of the use of leading edge technology and a record of innovation will be welcomed.

Sponsored by: HSBC

Service Sector Excellence Award

An NI-based family business at the leading edge in the broader services sector. Once again, evidence of the use of technology and a clear understanding of the market will be welcomed.

Sponsored by: 

Construction and Property Family Business

An NI-based family business active and achieving in the construction or property sector – including house building, commercial construction, public sector contracts and property development/investment.

Sponsored by: Elliott Duffy Garrett

Food and Drink Family Business

The food and drink sector is exponentially important in Northern Ireland. This award will recognise a family-owned business at the forefront of the sector. Evidence of exporting and the innovation of new product lines would be welcomed.

Sponsored by: 

Hospitality and Tourism Family Business

Hospitality and tourism has been through extremely tough times during the pandemic. This award sets out to recognise real achievement by a hospitality/tourism enterprise, spanning pubs/restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions.

Sponsored by: 

Most Innovative Family Business

A special award covering all sector of the economy but spotlighting the recognising real achievement in product or service innovation by a family-owned company.

Sponsored by: Tarasis Enterprises

Family Business Legacy Award

This award will be presented to the Northern Ireland based family enterprise which has demonstrated extraordinary business achievement over the years, has contributed positively to the local community and economy and which sets an example for others to follow.

Sponsored by: Harbinson Mulholland


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