Online Innovator Headlines Exporter Of Year Awards

Gerald Ratner, the driving force behind, the UK’s biggest internet jewellery business, will be the guest speaker at Invest Northern Ireland’s annual Exporter of the Year Awards in Belfast on 25th October.

Export businesses, both large and small, are being invited to enter the awards organised by Invest NI to highlight the achievements of local companies that pushed exports to a record level of £4.5 billion in 2004/5.

Five awards will be presented: Northern Ireland Exporter of the Year; Small Business Exporter of the Year; New Market Exporter of the Year; First Time Exporter of the Year; and Innovative Exporter of the Year, a new category designed to highlight the importance of innovation in business success. The event will take place in the Ramada Hotel, Belfast.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, said: “The awards will recognise the achievements of companies in both manufacturing and tradeable services over the past three years, particularly those doing good business in markets beyond the British Isles. Over the past decade, exports of manufactured goods have increased by 76 per cent to £4.5 billion and have more than doubled since 1990/91.

“By highlighting global success we aim to develop the role models that will help to encourage other companies, especially the small and medium enterprises that are backbone of the local economy, to exploit the opportunities that are growing rapidly particularly in dynamic markets like India and China.

“The new Innovative Exporter of the Year reflects Invest NI’s strategic focus on encouraging SMEs and bigger companies to ensure long-term growth by investing in new products, processes and services for the global marketplace. Many companies already recognise that an engagement with customers in international business helps to stimulate new ideas for growth.

“Our guest speaker brings with him a wealth of business experience gained with both large and small businesses operating in international markets,” he added.

The Northern Ireland Exporter of the Year Awards are organised by Invest NI in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the CBI Northern Ireland. Sponsorship is provided by Flybe airline and HSBC.