‘FinTrU to Form’ – Financial Services Specialists Come out on Top at BEFTA18 Business Awards

‘Business Personality of the Year’ Accolade goes to Tina McKenzie

Belfast businesswoman Tina McKenzie has been named ‘Business Personality of the Year’ at the 2018 BEFTAs, the Business Eye First Trust Bank Business Awards. Meanwhile, the overall ‘Company of the Year’ accolade went to financial services specialists FinTrU, who also completed a rare double by picking up the award for ‘Fast Growth Business of the Year’.

The awards, now in their 13th year and re-branded from the former UTV Business Eye Awards, were presented at a glittering ceremony attended by a 600-strong business audience at ICC Belfast last night (Thursday, 22nd November). Sponsored by First Trust Bank, the awards honoured companies and business leaders across 18 different categories, rewarding growth, innovation and commitment to CSR, the environment and people development.

Tina McKenzie was chosen by the judging panel for steering the growth of the Staffline Group in the Northern Ireland marketplace, and for her contribution to the local economy as a prolific spokesperson on business issues in her role as NI Policy Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses.

Financial services group FinTrU, set to grow to over 800 employees here over the coming years, took the ‘Company of the Year’ title at the 2018 BEFTAs. The company, led by founder and CEO Darragh McCarthy, was also named as ‘Fast Growth Business of the Year’, following the recent rapid growth of the business, only formed in December 2013.

Multi-award-winning Mash Direct took the ‘Family Business of the Year’ award, while Bangor-based Denroy Plastics was named as ‘Manufacturer of the Year’.

In other awards, PKF-FPM Accountants were inaugural winners in a new ‘Professional Services Firm of the Year’ category. Meanwhile, a hotly-contested’ Young Business Personality of the Year’ title was awarded jointly to Maire Claire Reid of Ballymena-based haulage firm TST Transport and Gavin Halpin of Belfast animation/TV house Paper Owl Films.

Speaking at the awards, Adrian Moynihan, Head of First Trust Bank said;

“The BEFTAs are Northern Ireland’s longest running business awards and are an opportunity to celebrate the stand-out organisations and leaders in our business community, while very importantly recognising the value of their achievements to our economy and wider society. 

Everyone who has been shortlisted and our winners should be very proud of their achievements.  

“The event is also an important platform to beat the drum for the Northern Ireland business community and given the uncertain times we live in, politically and economically, we must ensure our voices are heard loud and clear at this critical time.

“Last week we saw a significant and positive step forward in Brexit negotiations with the publication of the draft Withdrawal Agreement and a date set for the EU Summit. While maybe not perfect, we agree with the views and position of the leading Northern Ireland business organisations and representative groups who have voiced their support for the draft Agreement. It is clear that most business leaders understand and agree that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit could be hugely damaging for our economy and is simply not an option. This deal at last brings some certainty and allows us to turn our attention to the future trade relationship with the EU – safe in the knowledge that we have a transition period to negotiate it and a backstop to fall back on should those negotiations fail.”

Richard Buckley, Editor of Business Eye added;

“Business Eye is proud to have been organising Northern Ireland’s foremost business awards for the past 13 years. Against a challenging backdrop, it’s really important for business success, by both companies and individuals to be recognised in this way. We had a record-breaking entry in 2018 and both the scale and quality of that entry illustrates the strength of the local business sector.”

Commenting on their award success, FinTrU Founder & CEO, Darragh McCarthy, said:

“I am delighted that the dedication and high-quality work of the employees here at FinTrU has been recognised in this way. FinTrU is a ‘people business’ and our employees are a critical driver of our success.”

Speaking about her recognition as ‘Business Personality of the Year’, Tina McKenzie said;

“It is an absolute honour to receive the award for Business Personality of The Year – a big thank you to my teams who work tirelessly to allow me the freedom to give back in other ways and also the team at FSB NI. I am proud to be part of the wider NI business community where we all support each other.” 


Full List of Winners

The full list of winners of the BEFTA18 Awards are:

Award Sponsor Winner(s)


Business Personality of the Year First Trust Bank Tina McKenzie, Group MD, Staffline Ireland
Company of the Year First Trust Bank FinTrU


Young Business Personality of the Year Ulster University Maire Claire Reid, TST Transport & Gavin Halpin, Paper Owl Films
Exporter of the Year Business Eye Telestack
Employer of the Year Clear Channel Action Cancer
Family Business of the Year Harbinson Mullholland Mash Direct
Agri Food Innovation Award Musgrave Davison Canners
Tourism & Hospitality Project of the Year Visit Belfast Andras House Group
Fast Growth Business of the Year Fleet Financial FinTrU
Manufacturer of the Year Nimbus CS Denroy Plastics
Technology Company of the Year U105 First Derivatives
Innovative Business of the Year Business Eye Neurovalens
Medium Mid-Sized Business of the Year QUB Leadership Institute/

Chief Executive’s Club

Professional Services Firm of the Year Davy PKF-FPM Accountants
Waste Reduction Project of the Year ISL Waste Management Pritchitts
R&D Project of the Year Momentum Group Bloc Blinds
Community (CSR) Award Community Foundation NI ATG Group
Exec Support Professional of the Year Honeycomb Janine Smalls, Homecare Independent Living