£100,000 prize fund to recognise business excellence

Invest Northern Ireland, in partnership with Ulster Bank, today launched the Innovation and Export Awards 2009.

Launching the awards, Leslie Morrison, Chief Executive of Invest Northern Ireland, said, “It is clear that a constant focus on innovation and exporting will underpin the fortunes of the private sector. These awards will, celebrate and reward established and emerging businesses which are leading the way in continuous improvement and committing to succeed in export markets. We have many ambitious businesses, and I am confident that the winners will be strong role models to others.”

Henry Elvin, Head of Business Banking at Ulster Bank, said, “Ulster Bank is delighted to sponsor the Invest NI Innovation and Export Awards 2009. These awards will highlight the high standard achieved by Northern Ireland businesses across innovation, export, leadership and overall business excellence. The awards are testament to Ulster Bank’s continued commitment to supporting local enterprise and businesses throughout Northern Ireland.”

A total prize fund of £100,000 will be available to winners of the five award categories, judged through the open competition process.

The winner of the Business Excellence Award will receive support to the value of £35,000, with the Exporter of the Year and Innovator of the Year each receiving £25,000. Companies winning the Best New Innovation and Best Emerging Exporter awards will each receive support to the value of £10,000 to help take their business to the next level.

Clients can submit entries up until 28 November and the companies shortlisted for each category will be announced in December.  The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony to be held on Wednesday 18 February 2009 at BBC Blackstaff Studios, Belfast, where the 2008-09 inductee to Invest NI’s Business Hall of Fame will also be announced.

For full details of the awards, visit www.innovationandexportawards.com