The 2018 Larne Business Awards have been launched, with nominations now being sought across 14 award categories.
Valerie Martin, group editor of Johnston Press NI, welcomed guests to the launch of this year’s awards.
“This is the fourth occasion the Larne Times has hosted the awards,” she said. “Each time it has been really encouraging to see a fantastic level of interest and I have no doubt this year will be no exception.
“The awards are a fabulous way to recognise the spirit of enterprise that exists within the Larne area.”
The 14 award categories cover all aspects of business and industry. Anyone can make a nomination regardless of whether they are a business owner, employee or satisfied customer.
Judging is arried out by an independent panel with the winners of two categories being decided by readers of the Larne Times.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Councillor Paul Reid said the council is proud to be the main sponsor of the 2018 Larne Business Awards.
“The aim of these awards is to recognise achievement and success and bring together local businesses which excel in what they do.
“Council recently launched Amplify, the new integrated Economic Strategy for Mid and East Antrim.
“Amplify sets out the strategic economic priorities for the Borough with a clear focus on growing the economy.
“Through Amplify and supporting events such as the business awards we hope to establish a sense of place among our entrepreneurs and business people, and a knowledge that Larne is a place to do business - a forward-looking town that will attract investment, an area with great opportunity and sound business ethos.
“We celebrate the talent, entrepreneurship and ambition of our local business leaders and pay tribute to your unrelenting and inspirational commitment to Larne and Mid and East Antrim.
“On behalf of the council I would like to express my appreciation to all Larne companies who work to create wealth and jobs in the borough thus contributing to a vibrant local economy.”
The awards also provide the opportunity for sponsors to support the event, and already backing has been secured from LEDCOM, Caterpillar, Power NI, Larne Port / P&O Ferries and Forever Living.
Ken Nelson, CEO of LEDCOM, told those gathered at the launch that one definition of an award is a mark of recognition given in honour of an achievement.
“That is a good way of describing what the Larne Business Awards are all about: a public way of recognising achievement by the Larne business community.
“There is a vibrant business community in Larne, achieving day in and day out – and these awards are a great opportunity to recognise and honour those achievements,” he said, adding that LEDCOM is very proud to have been closely involved with all the Larne Business Awards since they began in 2005.
“LEDCOM is delighted to be involved again as a sponsor and would be even more delighted to see many local businesses ,whether start up or established, applying to this year’s business awards.
“It would be great to see the 2018 Larne Business Awards being the best supported of all the Larne Business Awards so far,” he added.
The closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday, March 16. Juding will then take place and a shortlist drawn up.
The awards will be presented at a gala black tie dinner and awards ceremony on Thursday, May 10 at Ballygally Castle Hotel when the winner of each category will be announced and presented with their award