Over 100 companies enter the race for over £100,000

Invest Northern Ireland has announced the shortlist of companies competing for a share of the £105,000 prize fund in the 2009 Innovation and Export Awards.

Run in partnership with Ulster Bank, the awards attracted a total of 111 applications from Invest NI client companies across the five individual categories.

Commenting on the entries, Leslie Morrison, Chief Executive of Invest NI said:

“We are delighted with the quality and diversity of the entrants to the Awards.

“It is clear from the high overall standard that, despite the current very challenging economic conditions, we have clients of all sizes and in all sectors throughout Northern Ireland who are continuing to take a medium to long term view by investing in their future. In recognising and rewarding business success, we hope that more clients will be encouraged to adopt a similar approach.”

Henry Elvin, Head of Business Banking at Ulster Bank, adds: "Ulster Bank has a strong and longstanding commitment to supporting companies of all sizes and in an increasingly tough climate, it is extremely important that local businesses across a wide range of industry segments are recognised for their achievements. These awards continue to highlight the positive impact of continuous improvement by businesses and demonstrates the importance of export activity for promoting and strengthening the local economy."

The successful shortlisted companies in each category are as follows:

Best New Innovation

Criteria :Recognising research, development and design excellence in a new product, service or process launched within the last two years that has delivered quantifiable benefits to the business, added value to target market by increasing market share and demonstrated the potential for future commercial success.

Shortlist : BASE Limited, Belfast

Core Systems (NI) Limited, Belfast

Embedded Monitoring Systems Limited, Belfast

James Leckey Design Limited, Belfast

Rainvault, Draperstown

Innovator of the Year Award

Criteria: Recognising the outstanding contribution of a business that has been in business for five years or more, and has made a significant contribution to economic prosperity and the advancement of innovation in Northern Ireland.

Shortlist: BASE Limited, Belfast

James Leckey Design Limited, Belfast

Marturion Limited, Lisburn

Randox Laboritories Limited, Crumlin

Singularity, Londonderry

Best Emerging Exporter Award

Criteria:Recognising the outstanding export achievement of a business that has been exporting goods and / or services for three years or less.

Shortlist: ACT Detection Dogs Limited, Downpatrick

A&K Landscape Retail Limited, Belfast

Colloide Engineering Systems Limited, Cookstown

Inspecvision Limited, Larne

Linwoods, Armagh

Exporter of the Year Award

Criteria:Recognising the outstanding export achievement (based on incremental export performance) of a business that has been exporting goods and/or services for four years or more.

Shortlist: Almac Group, Craigavon

AJ Power, Craigavon

CDE Ireland Limited, Cookstown

Latens Systems, Belfast

Randox Laboratories, Crumlin

Business Excellence Award

Criteria:Recognising the outstanding achievement of a business, irrespective of size or time in operation that can demonstrate exceptional financial returns, strong export growth, delivery of innovation strategies and market leadership in their sector.

Shortlist: Almac Group, Craigavon

James Leckey Design Limited, Belfast

Mash Direct Limited, Comber

Randox Laboratories, Crumlin

Singularity, Londonderry

Shortlisted companies will now progress to the 2009 Innovation and Export Awards, to be held on 18 February, where the category winners will be announced. In addition, Invest NI will also announce the latest inductee to the Invest NI entrepreneurial Hall of Fame.