Times readers will choose two Larne Business Awards winners

Kylie Best and Catherine McKeown from sponsors,Power NI are pictured with the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Councillor Billy Ashe and Multimedia Content Editor of the Larne Times, Stephen Kernohan at the official launch of the Larne Times, Larne Business Awards in the Town Hall. INLT 07-004-PSB

Kylie Best and Catherine McKeown from sponsors,Power NI are pictured with the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Councillor Billy Ashe and Multimedia Content Editor of the Larne Times, Stephen Kernohan at the official launch of the Larne Times, Larne Business Awards in the Town Hall. INLT 07-004-PSB

Larne Times readers will choose two of the category winners to be announced at the Larne Business Awards 2016 presentation ceremony.

We want you to nominate your favourite restaurant or cafe, and also the Larne area business you believe provides the best customer service.

To nominate your favourite cafe or restaurant, whether for its bacon butties or gourmet menu, please fill in the form provided on the page opposite.

And if there is a local business where your customer service experience has been good, make sure to fill in the form and your choice could win the Best Customer Service award, which is sponsored by power ni.

Nominations can also be made online for each of the 15 Larne Business Awards categories. Go to www.larnetimes.co.uk and open the Larne Business Awards 2016 tab at the top of the home page. There, you will see tabs for Awards News, an Entry Pack in the form of an e-book giving details of each award (also published on Page 13), and online nomination form.

If you have any questions, please contact Julie Forde on 028 38395504 or Karen Fitzmaurice on 028 38395564.

The Larne Times is delighted to be promoting the biennial awards for the third successive time.

Principal sponsor for the 2016 awards is the new Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. The Mayor, Councillor Billy Ashe, helped to launch the awards in Larne Town Hall recently, saying: “The awards are a great opportunity to pay tribute to the talents, entrepreneurship and talent that exists across the full range of business and commerce in the Larne area.”

Larne Times multimedia content editor Stephen Kernohan underlined the objective of the Business Awards as “the promotion of excellence in business” and to “highlight and celebrate the extensive and diverse commercial and industrial sector in Larne and the surrounding area”.

The Larne Times, and associate sponsor Forever Living (also involved for a third time) know very well how much it means to local firms and individuals to win a Larne Business Award.

“From our own experience, we are well aware that the awards are highly prized, not least because all the entries are judged independently by an expert panel,” said Stephen Kernohan.

“Competition is keen because the range of categories means that every single nominee – from the smallest and newest start-up, to the area’s largest employer – has equal opportunity to win an award.”

For the first time, the 2016 awards feature a new category for Best Start-up Business. Sponsored by enterprise agency LEDCOM, it is aimed a businesses that have opened in the past two years and which have shown growth, implemented a successful business strategy/plan, and made the most of their resources for future growth.

Entrants will be judged on a brief description of the business (see entry form); by showing growth since start-up (such as staffing, marketing, products etc); demonstrating a clear commitment to investment, converting into growth in profitability and return; and finally, by showing how the business stands out from its competitors.

Opportunities exist for others to join the council, Forever Living, power ni, LEDCOM, Gaelectric,and P&O Ferries in sponsoring awards. Categories include Best Retail Initiative, Best Export Business, Excellence In Innovation, Best Rural Business, Best Community Engagement Award, Best Digital Initiative Award, Excellence In People Development, Business Person of the Year, and Young Business Person of the Year.

“There is an additional incentive for sponsors this time around,” Stephen Kernohan explained.

“Just like the Larne Times, the 2016 awards will have a primarily digital focus. As well as publicity each week in the newspaper, the Larne Business Awards 2016 will be promoted online, using our web site www.larnetimes.co.uk and on both Facebook and Twitter.”

The awards will be presented at a black tie dinner in the Ballygally Castle Hotel on Thursday, June 9 when everyone will be welcomed with a drinks reception, sponsored by Larne Traders’ Forum.