Omagh celebrates the best of local business at glittering awards ceremony

Last Friday night saw business people from across Omagh and the wider district gather to celebrate and acknowledge the 2011Ulster Herald and Omagh Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.

With close to 220 attending the gala event in Kelly’s Inn, Garvaghy, the stage was set for the biggest awards night of the year. The glittering occasion got off to a flying start with a video presentation of the short-listed nominees and another montage of everything that’s good about the local area, including the people, the places, local business, big events and most importantly the nominees. After the fine meal, provided by Kelly’s Inn, all the winners were announced and presented with their Award by the relevant sponsor. The main award of the night went to well known Creative Media proprietor, Marcus Isherwood, who was named as Omagh Business Person of the Year.

The remaining winners on the night were: 

  • Retailer of the Year Award – Sponsored by Omagh District Council – House of Kidz
  • Excellence in Marketing -Sponsored by Power NI – Todds Leap
  • Excellence in Business Practice – sponsored by ABAC, All Business Advice Centre: Hi-Tec
  • Best Start Up Business Award – Sponsored by Omagh Enterprise – Heavenly Tasty Organics
  • Growth Through Export -Sponsored by Invest NI – Waste Systems
  • Customer Service – Sponsored by Grafton Recruitment – Pat Kirk Motors

MC for the night Jim Fitzpatrick, the new BBC Northern Ireland Economics and Business Editor, got formal proceedings underway with speeches by Omagh Chamber’s president, Chris Kelly and Alex Attwood, Minister of the Environment.

Dominic Mc-Clements, Ulster Herald General Manager stated, “The UlsterHerald is delighted to be joint organizer of the Business Awards this year along with Omagh Chamber of Commerce”.

The gala night last Friday was a huge success for everyone concerned with the local business community being acknowledged for its dedication and entrepreneurialism.

“The UlsterHerald plays a pivotal role in the local community and backing initiatives such as the awards is crucial and we look forward to the event growing in strength over the coming years.”

Chris Kelly, President of Omagh of Commerce, hailed the evening as an “outstanding success,” and highlighted business strength and creativity that exists throughout the local area.

Mr Kelly said, “I am delighted that the Omagh Business Awards was an outstanding success. Despite the difficult economic times the event was sold out and we had a capacity attendance. The awards celebrate the wealth and diversity of the business talent and the entrepreneurial spirit that exists within Omagh and the surrounding district. They are a recognition of the exceptional talent of the business men and women of Omagh. The awards are also a badge of the confidence and pride that we have in our town and district. They send a clear message to the wider community in Northern Ireland and beyond that Omagh is an exciting place to do business. The awards demonstrate that we in Omagh are more than capable of creating dynamic, innovative and successful world-class businesses.

The awards are all about celebrating that success and each and every one of the businesses who took part should be proud of what they have achieved. They are an inspiring testament to the innovation and creativity of the people of Omagh.”

Dr Nicholas O’Shiel of Omagh Enterprise Company was delighted to present the Best-Start Up Award to Shauna McCarney of Heavenly Tast Organics. The Fintona mother-of-two founded the organic baby food company Heavenly Tasty Organics from her kitchen in June 2009. Friday night’s accolade at the Omagh Business Awards will be – she also hopes – the first of many.

“We’re up and running now and we’re selling in all the SuperValu stores and well as with some independent retailers, so the hard work is only really starting,” Shauna said on Monday.

“It’s been a long time coming but in a way, Friday’s award makes it all worthwhile. It’s great to receive this kind of recognition and I’m really pleased.”

With the key objective of turning her concept for organic baby food into a viable business, the local lady spent two years on research and development, creating a range of eight100 per cent organic products, which,with backing of Invest NI and DARD, are produced from the company’s new base in the Food Business Incubation Centre in Loughry College.

Describing her company as totally unique and a first of its kind in the province, Heavenly Tasty Organics appeals to a large local market area and are now stocked by SuperValu stores across Northern Ireland.

She continued, “This is the first award and I have to say, I was delighted to win.

“The fact that this is a local award too and from my local community, makes it all the more gratifying.

“Winning the Best Start-up Business Award really means a lot to me and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

“Why did we win? I’m not sure. Maybe because we’re innovative and because we’re completely different to anything else that’s out there.