Local businesses awarded for innovation and export success

Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster, has praised the drive and commitment of local business to succeed in global markets.

The Minister was speaking at Invest Northern Ireland’s Innovation and Export Awards 2009, in association with the Ulster Bank.

Opening the awards event, the Minister said: “Notwithstanding the current global economic difficulties, we do have much to be proud of in the Northern Ireland economy. It is clear from the volume and quality of entrants for these awards that there are many local companies who are continuing to invest, to grow, and to succeed in international markets. The breadth of companies at this awards ceremony, of all sizes, in all sectors and from all parts of Northern Ireland, is testament to that.

“In today’s climate of uncertainty, it would be very easy to fall into a downward spiral of negativity, where bad news becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Tonight’s winners clearly demonstrate the competence and confidence of Northern Ireland plc. Companies here punch above their weight in global markets and in a range of sectors, including life sciences, software development and niche manufacturing.”

The Minister continued, pledging her commitment and continued support to local companies at this particularly challenging time.

Arlene Foster said: “We cannot and will not ignore the difficulties being faced by many companies as the credit crunch continues to bite.

“The Executive, my department and Invest NI have responded quickly, within their powers, to the needs of business. We, alongside all those with an interest in economic development, will continue to help by providing the most effective and efficient support and guidance we can to business.

“It is important that neither business nor government allow current circumstances to detract from the medium to longer term priorities laid out in the Programme for Government. We recognise that it may take slightly longer than originally thought, but our focus will remain as we prepare for a better future for all in Northern Ireland.”

Henry Elvin, Head of Business Banking at Ulster Bank, said: "Ulster Bank is delighted to sponsor these awards which continue to recognise and reward innovative and ambitious businesses across Northern Ireland. They highlight the high standard of local companies which are leading the way through the continuous improvement of their product and the determination to succeed in export markets as a means of boosting growth and profitability."

During the awards ceremony, Denis Rooney was also announced as the latest inductee into Invest NI’s entrepreneurial Hall of Fame. This was in recognition, of his entrepreneurial track record in building his own successful business and for his enormous contribution to the Northern Ireland economy. This included being a past President of the Institute of Directors (IoD), a non-executive director of the Management and Leadership Network (MLN) (promoting leadership development in Northern Ireland SMEs), Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland (supporting new ventures) and fund raising for the restoration of the SS Nomadic, among other charities.

The Innovation and Export Awards 2009 were open to all Invest NI client companies. At the awards, businesses from across Northern Ireland were recognised for their outstanding achievements in innovation, exporting and business excellence, sharing a total prize fund of support worth £105,000.

Winners of the individual categories were:

Business Excellence Award - Singularity £35,000

Exporter of the Year - Almac Group £25,000

Innovator of the Year - Randox Laboratories £25,000

Best New Innovation - Rainvault £10,000

Best Emerging Exporter - Inspecvision £10,000

There is no cash alternative.