THIS week saw eight Northern Irish companies, including Antrim based businessman, Mark McCusker of Texthelp Systems, rewarded for helping sustain the economic ties that have been developed between NI and Great Britain at the annual Aer Lingus Viscount Awards in association with Ulster Business and Insider media.
The ceremony, which was held in the Corinthia Hotel, London, awarded the 'Entrepreneur of the Year' award to Mark McCusker.
The judging panel was made up of Declan Kearney, Aer Lingus, Tracy Meharg, Invest NI, Ann McGregor, NI Chamber of Commerce, Mervyn McCall, IoD, Symon Ross, Ulster Business, Adrienne McGill, News Letter, Gary McDonald, Irish News, Alan Taylor, Arthur Cox and Michael Taylor, Insider.
Mr McCusker said; "I am delighted to receive this award. It has come at a very challenging and exciting time for myself and Texthelp, as we are expanding and developing our software into international markets and have recently adapted new Web App versions of our software to work with iPad, iPhone and mobile devices.
"I enjoy the ever-changing technology marketplace as it ensures that both myself and the company must be continually innovative, adaptable and focussed on customer needs and that is how we remain as market leader."
The full list of winners is;
Most Innovative Company of the Year – CDE Global, noted for their fantastic track record in design and manufacture of equipment in their sector.
Exporter of the Year – Premier Electrics, whose export ratio has risen to 97% as a direct result of their bold export strategy.
Small Company of the Year – Cunningham Covers, a family run company that has won contracts with 2012 London Olympics, London Zoo and the Countryside Council for Wales.
Medium Company of the Year – Adelaide Insurance Services, noted for the fact that 75% of their business is now in Great Britain, with quadrupled sales.
Large Company of the Year – The Wright Group, with their significant win of the London bus contract and subsequent delivery in 2011.
Entrepreneur of the Year – Mark McCusker, CEO of Texthelp Systems, whose range of software programmes have helped countless people with physical and communication issues.
Outstanding Contribution – Titanic Foundation, in recognition of a team effort that has executed a project that will bring visitors in their thousands from all over the world to Northern Ireland.
Overall Excellence – Chain Reaction Cycles, whose 30% growth year on year was deemed by the judges to be the epitome of true excellence.
Declan Kearney, Director of Communications at Aer Lingus said; "The tenacity and entrepreneurship that the winners have displayed is what made them stand out from the crowd, some recording their richest period of growth in their company's history despite continuining difficult trading conditions.
"They are all to be commended for their focus on innovation and new product development, bold export strategies and diversification," he added.
For more information on the Aer Lingus Viscount Awards please visit