Ballyclare housebuilder James Hagan, Belfast restaurant owner Niall McKeown and serial entrepreneur Dr.Terry Cross were among the high-profile business figures honoured at the AIB Business Eye Awards 2023, held at ICC Belfast on Thursday, 30th November.
Almost 700 business guests attended Northern Ireland’s leading business awards, now in their 17th year.
James Hagan, founder of Hagan Homes, one of Northern Ireland’s largest housebuilders, picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award and enjoyed a double award success when his company was named as winner of a new category, the Property/Construction Company of the Year.
Dr.Terry Cross, founder of both Hinch Distillery and Belfast sustainable packaging firm Biopax, received the Leadership & Management Award.
In the top two awards, Niall McKeown of Waterman House and James Street in Belfast city centre was named as Business Personality of the Year, and also scored a double while his two restaurants and cooking school also took the top award in the Tourism & Hospitality Company category.
FinTrU, the fast-growing financial software company now employing 1,400 people across its Belfast, Derry/Londonderry, Letterkenny and Portuguese offices picked up the Company of the Year title for the second year running. The company was also named as Employer of the Year.
Belfast’s newly redeveloped Custom House won the Commercial Property Development Project award, while retail group Musgrave NI lifted another new award recognising the strides made in Diversity & Inclusion.
In the CSR category, Belfast Harbour came out on top while Mallusk-based manufacturer Brett Martin was honoured as the Green/Sustainable Company of the Year. The Family Business of the Year Award went to Northern Ireland’s largest family business, Henderson Retail.
“If these awards are a barometer of the local economy and business performance, then we’re in a good place,” said Business Eye’s Richard Buckley. “We had a record entry, some of the best quality entries we’ve ever had, and the audience at the event was larger than it has been since well before the pandemic.
“What’s more, the winners we’ve honoured at the awards reflect the very best of business achievement here in Northern Ireland.”
Brian Gillan, Head of Retail and NI at AIB added;
“AIB has a very proud and long-standing awards partnership with Business Eye and we were delighted to once again join with them to celebrate the best of Northern Ireland business. The competition was fierce this year, with local companies going above and beyond to make their mark with customers and the communities they serve. We would like to congratulate all those shortlisted and of course our deserving winners who excelled in their respective fields.”
AIB Business Eye Awards Winners 2023
Commercial Property Development Project of the Year Winner: Custom House Belfast
Construction & Property Company of the Year Highly Commended: Cole Groundwork Solutions & Todd Architects
Construction & Property Company of the Year Winner: Hagan Homes
Diversity & Inclusion Award Highly Commended: First Derivative
Diversity & Inclusion Award Winner: Musgrave NI
Employer of the Year Highly Commended: Derry Group Ireland
Employer of the Year Winner FinTrU
Employee of the Year Highly Commended: Paddy McSherry, Autobits Autostore
Employee of the Year Winner: Sophie Maguire, Harbinson Mulholland
Tourism & Hospitality Company of the Year Highly Commended: McKeever Hotel Group
Tourism & Hospitality Company of the Year Winner: James St / Waterman House
Young Business Personality of the Year Winner: Ben Boyd (Boyd Enterprises)
CSR Award Highly Commended: Action Cancer/MCL Insuretech
CSR Award Winner: Belfast Harbour
Medium/Mid-Sized Company of the Year Joint Winners: Edge Innovate & Elite Electronic Systems
Professional Services Firm of the Year Highly Commended: Collins Rolston Architects
Professional Services Firm of the Year Winner: Wilson Nesbitt
Manufacturer of the Year Highly Commended: Alternative Heat
Manufacturer of the Year Highly Winner: Malplas
Outstanding Leadership & Management Award Winner: Dr. Terry Cross
Fast Growth Business of the Year Highly Commended: Fibrus
Fast Growth Business of the Year Winner: Around Noon
Green/Sustainable Company of the Year Highly Commended: AG Paving & Building products
Green/Sustainable Company of the Year Winner: Brett Martin
Innovative Company of the Year Highly Commended: B Secur
Innovative Company of the Year Highly Commended: Nicobrand
Innovative Company of the Year Winner: Randox
Family Business of the Year Highly Commended: Derry Brothers
Family Business of the Year Highly Commended: O’Reilly’s Wholesale
Family Business of the Year Winner: Henderson Retail
Small Business of the Year Highly Commended: Vertical Structure
Small Business of the Year Winner: Derry Brothers
Business Personality of the Year Winner: Niall McKenna
Company of the Year Highly Commended: Galgorm
Company of the Year Highly Commended: First Derivative
Company of the Year Highly Commended: Nitec
Company of the Year Winner: FinTrU
Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: James Hagan