After a sweet year of success, the stars of the local enterprise sector were celebrated at the annual Enterprise Northern Ireland awards, held at the Hilton Hotel in Belfast last night. Hosted by broadcaster Claire McCollum, the glittering evening showcased the work done by the Northern Ireland small business community and the efforts of the local enterprise agency network in supporting business development.
The event was opened with an address from Patsy McGlone MLA and the audience also enjoyed an engaging and inspiring presentation from Tom Griffiths, founder of gapyear.com, who is widely regarded as the creator of the modern gap year industry.
There were many worthy winners but the top award, for Business Start Up of the Year, was scooped by Holohan’s at the Barge, a family owned restaurant moored next to the Waterfront in Belfast. It was a keenly contested category, in which the judges were looking for a business owner who demonstrated passion and enthusiasm and who had set up a business that could demonstrate sustainability in the long term. The judges were particularly impressed by how Holohans had developed the restaurant concept into an overall consumer experience and at the same time providing training and employment for over 20 people in the Belfast area. Holohans is taking the catering sector to the next level.