Record numbers gathered at the Glenavon House Hotel in Cookstown last Thursday (Nov 20) to celebrate 2014’s Mid Ulster Business Awards.
Co-sponsored by the Mid Ulster Mail, Tyrone Times and Danske Bank, the event provides a vital platform for businesses across Tyrone and Mid Ulster.
And with 15 categories populated with many worthy contestants from a wide range of business backgrounds, picking out the overall winners was no mean feat.
MP Francie Molloy, Dungannon Mayor Roger Burton and chair of Mid Ulster District Council Cathal Mallaghan all joined property tycoon Gary McCausland in acknowledging the hard-won successes of local businesses, both at home and overseas.
Welcoming esteemed business guests and politicians to the event, editor of the Mid Ulster Mail and Tyrone Times, Michael McGlade, said: “The success of this event over the past four years could only have been possible with the outstanding businesses we have right across Mid Ulster and Tyrone.
“As the leading media outlet here in Mid Ulster we are delighted to give this platform to local businesses who often go unrecognised for their efforts to bring employment to the region.”
Speaking on behalf of Danske Bank, Redmond McFadden told the 300-strong crowd: “It’s a pleasure to be in the company of so many who are connected to the wide variety of businesses in the Mid Ulster area - a region which continues to play an important role in the economy of Northern Ireland.
“The manufacturing sector in this part of Northern Ireland remains strong and continues to be a key employer and accounts for roughly 23% of local employment in Cookstown, 32% in Dungannon and 19% in Magherafelt.
“Agriculture in this area, too is a prominent player.”
Business tycoon and guest speaker, Gary McCausland, then took to the stage to share his recipe for success with the audience.
“You need clear goals and objectives, ” he told the audience, but “you also need great role models as success leaves great clues.”
Stand-out winners at the awards were local businessman Jim Henry, OBE and CBE, who took home the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions over the years in both business and charity.
While Business Person of the Year 2014 went to Jutox creator Nikita McDermott who started out from her home kitchen - but in true entrepreneurial spirit - now employs a team of seven at Jutox headquarters.
And the Best Digital Initiative & Use of Social Media prize went to Purple Dot at Dungannon Enterprise Centre.