From running companies with a multi-million-pound turnover and global footprint, to the woman starting up a modest business in her kitchen, females from a wide variety of career backgrounds feature in the impressive list of finalists in this year’s Women in Business Awards.

After a lengthy judging session, the adjudicators of the 2016 Women in Business Awards in association with Alexander Mann Solutions have complied a shortlist of more than 40 individuals and companies in the 13 categories.

Women in Business chief executive Roseann Kelly said; “Congratulations to all those on the shortlist. This has been another exceptional year for the awards with a number of outstanding individuals participating across a range of sectors.

“The shortlist showcases the very best across Northern Ireland and recognises and celebrates entrepreneurs and leaders in all walks of business life.

“Ou rWomen in Business Awards judging panel had an unenviable task during the voting process and all commented on the quality of the submissions and the passion, drive and stories behind the individuals who have made it to this stage.”

The six-strong judging panel comprised Ms Kelly along with Women in Business chair Imelda McMillan; Ellvena Graham (chair of the NI Economic Advisory Group); Evelyn Collins (chief executive of the Equality Commission for NI); Hester Larkin (Global Client Partner at Alexander Mann Solutions; and Gary McDonald (Irish News business editor).

The shortlisted business women can look forward to an overnight retreat at the four star Corick House Hotel & Spa in County Tyrone on November 7, providing a unique opportunity to network with peers and participate in a variety of mentoring sessions and workshops all designed to enhance personal development and business learning.

The Women in Business Awards category winners – along with the 2016 Outstanding Business Woman of the Year as voted for by the judges – will be announced at the gala awards ceremony on November 17 at the Ramada Plaza in Belfast and in a special in-paper supplement following the event.

Tickets are currently available for the Women in Business Awards gala priced at £100, with discount available for members. Visit womeninbusinessni.com for more information and to book online.

Sponsors and partners of the Women in Business Awards 2016 include Alexander Mann Solutions, Department for the Economy, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, The Pierce Partnership, Danske Bank, Go For It, Diamond Recruitment, QA Travel, Belfast City Council and the Irish News.

The following is the Women in Business Awards shortlist of 2016 finalists

  • Advancing Diversity in the Workplace – Sinead Curran (Lagan Construction Group), Sharon Martin (Terex GB Ltd), Frances McVeigh (PwC), Progressive Building Society.
  • Best Customer Service (corporate) – Kathy Hanna (Lowry Grace Consulting), Colette Leeson (Enterprise Shared Services, Northern Ireland Civil Service), Sinead McCann (Corick House Hotel and Spa).
  • Best Customer Service (small business) – Aideen Duggan (Keenan Healthcare), Sarah Mackie (Larchfield Estate), Geri Martin (The Chocolate Manor).
  • Best Exporter – Anne Murphy (Delegate International Recruitment), Sinead Murphy (Shnuggle), Kerry Nevins (Babocush).
  • Best in Professional Services (small business) – Kathy Hanna (Lowry Grace Consulting), Mags McAlpin (Creating Retail Magic), Jayne Taggart (Causeway Enterprise Agency).
  • Best in Professional Services (corporate) – Sarah Burrows (Cleaver Fulton Rankin), Vicky Davies (Danske Bank), Sinead Dillon (Fujitsu).
  • Best Marketing Campaign – Denise Cowan (Digital Den Marketing), Zoë McCullough (Suki Tea), Loraa White (Budget Music Videos).
  • Best New Start-Up – Ritu Bhatt (iEngageIT), Heather Carr (Ten Minutes More), Kelly Neill (Panacea Drinks), Niamh Taylor (Digital Twenty Four).
  • Best Small Business – Aideen Duggan (Keenan Healthcare), Sarah Mackie (Larchfield Estate), Alicia Peyrano (Little Citizens Boutique), Loraa White (Budget Music Videos).
  • Excellence in IT – Ritu Bhatt (iEngageIT), Sue McLaughlin (Bluebird Care Coleraine), Niamh Taylor (Digital Twenty Four).
  • Outstanding Innovation – Heather Carr (Ten Minutes More), Kelly Neill (Panacea Drinks), Kerry Nevins (Babocush).
  • Outstanding Leadership & Management – Ursula Lavery (Moy Park), Lisa McLaughlin (Herbert Smith Freehills), Avril Robson (Corick House Hotel and Spa), Jayne Taggart (Causeway Enterprise Agency).
  • Young Business Woman – Yolanda Cooper (Vita Liberata), Alex Megarry (Bubbly Bar), Katie Stevenson and Sarah Graham (La Bella Vita Hair & Beauty).