MAYOR Cllr Gerardine Mulvenna, welcomed “the amazing response” to the 2012 Larne Business Awards, hosted by Larne Times and sponsored by Larne Borough Council and Larne Skills Development.
It was the fourth time the business awards had been held in the borough and the biggest and best to date, with 85 entries for 14 categories, said the mayor.
Cllr Mulvenna paid fulsome tribute to local enterprise firm Ledcom, whose staff had “driven this event forward”.
Addressing the awards entrants, the mayor added: “None of this could happen without people like you. I am absolutely honoured to be celebrating talented business community tonight.”
Encouraging businesses to continue boosting the local economy, Cllr Mulvenna added: “Do what you always do and I know that it will be such a success because we have so many people with such innovation and commitment, who are creative and hard-working.”
Council chief executive Geraldine McGahey thanked the Larne Times for hosting the awards. Stressing the importance of celebrating excellence in business in the borough, Mrs McGahey indicated increasing interest in the awards each time they are held. This year’s competition attracted roughly twice that of 2009, the last time the awards were held.
Asking why that should be the case against the backdrop of “job losses” and “hard times for everybody”, the chief executive said: “The reality is that in times like these it is vital to celebrate the success of local business and to showcase the immense talent that we have in our midst”.
Valerie Martin, regional editor of the Larne, Carrick and Newtownabbey Times. told guests at the gala event that this was the first time the Larne Times had been involved in hosting the awards and everyone involved had been delighted at the support which had been received, in the level of sponsorship, the number of entries and indeed, in the interest in attending the awards ceremony itself.
“To all those who have supported the awards through sponsorship, I would like to say a huge thank you. This event would not have been possible without the support of our main sponsor, Larne Borough Council; our associate sponsor, Larne Skills Development; and those who have supported the individual categories and other aspects of the awards.
“But, of course, the awards would be nothing without nominations from throughout the borough’s business community. With 14 different categories, the awards were designed to give plenty of scope for all kinds and sizes of enterprise to take part.
“And I’’m delighted to say that we had a fantastic response to each of the categories. From well-established businesses that have been around for many years to new starts, the interest in entering the awards process has been quite overwhelming.
This proves without any doubt that Larne has much to be proud of. Tonight we have representatives from just some of the many business enterprises throughout the borough that are rising to the challenges of a recession by adapting the way they work and seeking new trade in places previously unconsidered. We even have examples of businesses launched after a niche market was spotted as a result of the recession itself.
“As part of the business community for more than 100 years, the Larne Times is proud to be part of this determined spirit and to support it in any way we can.
“We congratulate all the shortlisted businesses represented and hope that you enjoy continued success and prosperity in the future,” she said.