Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster today encouraged women to pick up a pen and enter the second Women in Business NI Awards in association with Invest Northern Ireland.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster joins Roseann Kelly, Chief Executive of Women in Business NI, to launch the second Women in Business Awards in association with Invest Northern Ireland. There are 10 categories open and the deadline for entries is 28 September with the awards ceremony to be held on 22 November.

The awards will take place on Thursday 22 November in the Ramada Hotel, Belfast.

Minister Foster said:  “Northern Ireland’s women have a reputation for working hard and achieving success, both locally and in the global marketplace and the second Women in Business NI Awards are a fitting acknowledgement of the contribution women make to our economy.

“These awards recognise all that is good about being a woman in business in Northern Ireland. I would encourage entrepreneurs and those in senior management positions to consider the categories, enter and seek the recognition that their efforts deserve.”

Roseann Kelly, Chief Executive of Women in Business NI, said:  “It is vitally important that we recognise the effort being made by business owners and business leaders across Northern Ireland, especially in such tough trading times.

“The interest in the first Women in Business NI awards surpassed all our expectations in terms of the number of entries received and the number of attendees at the glittering ceremony.  The entries produced a shortlist of outstanding women from which the eventual remarkable winners were judged.

“This year we have therefore decided to offer all finalists the opportunity to attend the first ever Women in Business NI Finalists Retreat.  An exclusive and intimate event which will stimulate networking and personal development, the retreat will be aimed at inspiring those women who will reach the shortlist for this year’s awards.”

There are 10 categories open for entry – best new start up, entrepreneurship / innovation, outstanding management / leadership, best marketing campaign, best small business, best customer service, best in professional services, best young business woman of the year, advancing gender / diversity in the work place, best exporter.

Closing date for entry is Friday 28 September 2012.

Women in Business NI is the largest and fastest growing business network for female entrepreneurs and business leaders in Northern Ireland.  Established in 2002, the network has almost 700 members spread throughout all industry sectors.

To join Women in Business NI, log onto  Follow Women in Business NI on facebook at or on twitter @wibni.

Women in Business NI Awards categories 2012 are:

Best New Start Up

Entrepreneurship / Innovation

Outstanding Management / Leadership

Best Marketing Campaign

Best Small Business

Best Customer Service

Best in Professional Services

Best Young Business Woman of the Year

Advancing Gender / Diversity in the Work Place

Best Exporter

Women in Business NI Awards winners and shortlisted 2011 were:

Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year – Orla Corr OBE, The McAvoy Group
Best New Start Up – Barbara Hughes, Managing Director/Owner, Boozeberries Liqueurs

Shortlisted: Tracy Gilligan, Managing Director, Therapie Clinic

Maria Saddiq, Managing Director, O4 Research

Entrepreneurship / Innovation:

International – Orla Corr OBE, Business Development Director, The McAvoy Group

Indigenous – Shauna McCarney, Managing Director, Heavenly Tasty Organics

Shortlisted: Alyson Hogg, Managing Director, Vita Liberta

Elaine Willis, Linden Foods

Johann Muldoon, Director, Manor Architects

Lorraine McAleer, General Manager, Learning SPACE

Outstanding Management / Leadership Ann McGregor, Chief Executive, NICC

Shortlisted: Gillian Creevy, Chief Executive, NICFC

Cathy McCorry, Managing Director, Grafton Recruitment

Helen Kirkpatrick, UTV Media

Patricia O’Hagan, Managing Director, Core Systems NI Ltd

Best in Marketing/Communications Tracy Hamilton, Director, Mash Direct Ltd

Shortlisted: Ruth Morgan, Communications Executive, Belfast City Airport

Cathy Martin, Managing Director CMPR
Debbie McLorinan, Dunmurry Dental Practice

Best Exporter – Celine Doherty, Director, Re-Gen Waste Ltd

Shortlisted: Liesa Johnston, Business & Marketing Director, Genesis Crafty

Barbara Hughes, Managing Director/Owner, Boozeberries Liqueurs

Saleswoman of the Year – Heather Boyle, Business Advisor, A Slice of Heaven Ltd

Shortlisted: Belinda Moran, Advertising Sales Director, IN! Magazine

Angela Stewart, Autoline Insurance Group

Best in Professional Services Phyllis Agnew, Senior Partner, Tughans

Shortlisted: Carrie McDonagh, Associate Partner, DPP

Caroline Keenan, Tax Director, ASM

Best Customer Service – Caroline Currie, Sales Director, Autoline Insurance Group

Shortlisted: Sarah Lyons, Creative Director, Redhead Conference & Exhibition

Brigid Derry, Managing Director, Derry Bros Shipping Ltd

Lisa Millar, Director, Beauty Culture

Best Sole Trader – Jacqueline McGonigle, Owner,

Shortlisted: Lorraine McAleer, General Manager, Learning SPACE
Loretta Gallagher, Owner, Lorsha

Young Businesswoman of the Year – Cara Macklin, Director, Macklin Group

Shortlisted: Jayne Finlay, Managing Director, Legal-Island

Elaine Willis, Linden Foods

Rebekah Patterson, Executive Sales Manager, Miglio Jewellery