Local businesses honoured in Celebration of Enterprise event

As part of National Enterprise Week, Invest Northern Ireland, in association with Ulster Bank, hosted a Celebration of Enterprise gala dinner last night at which several local entrepreneurs were honoured for their contribution to business in Northern Ireland.

At the event held at the Transport Museum, Cultra, and hosted by BBC presenter Noel Thompson, Orla Corr of the McAvoy Group became the thirteenth entrepreneur to be inducted into Invest NI’s Hall of Fame.

A special award was also made posthumously to Frank Pantridge, the inventor of the portable defibrillator, recognising his contribution to innovation. Five other awards were presented for specific categories in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship and export. These were:

  • Best Business Entrepreneur: awarded to Patrick McGrath of Ripfactory whose flagship product is the Ripstation, a fully automated, high-speed, CD ripping and encoding system.

  • Best New Innovation: awarded to Willis Heating & Plumbing. The company has developed a new solar water heating system, the Willis SolaSyphon.

  • Innovator of the Year: awarded to Fusion Antibodies, a biotechnology company specialising in the areas of oncology and infectious disease.

  • Best Emerging Exporter: awarded to Singularity, which provides business process management software and solutions.

  • Exporter of the Year: awarded to Fintec Crushing & Screening, a market leader in the manufacture of mobile crushing and screening equipment for use in quarrying and recycling applications.

Speaking at the event Leslie Morrison, Invest NI’s Chief Executive, said: “This event is an opportunity for us to recognise and celebrate the achievements of local entrepreneurs, both those in the early stages of building their business, and those who have established successful internationally trading businesses.

“Each of our award winners tonight demonstrates the common entrepreneurial characteristics of being innovative, dynamic, committed and willing to take a calculated risk. These champions of enterprise are excellent role models, particularly for our young people who will be the business leaders of the future.”

The keynote speaker at the event, which was attended by over 250 members of Northern Ireland’s business and business support community, was David Taylor, a former European Business Speaker of the Year. David is a leading authority on authentic leadership, and author of the global best-selling Naked Leader books.

Commenting on the event, Kevin Kingston, Ulster Bank's Director of Corporate Banking, said: "Northern Ireland has a long history of world class entrepreneurial activity and many of our most innovative firms are leaders in their fields. Through our support for Enterprise Week, Ulster Bank is delighted to recognise the contribution that Northern Ireland's most successful entrepreneurs make to the local economy and to encourage potential entrepreneurs and growth businesses to try to follow in their footsteps."