The voice for Social Enterprises & Social Entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland. Connecting, supporting, developing and sustaining vibrant businesses to create social change.


Social Enterprise Northern Ireland Gala Awards Dinner 2019 in Association with Sparq AV - Press Release

On Friday 11th October the Annual Social Enterprise NI Gala Awards Dinner in association with Sparq AV took place in The Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast. The awards, showcasing the Social Enterprise Sector in Northern Ireland, was attended by over 470 guests from Social Enterprise, Private, Public and Educational Sectors.  The awards ceremony was hosted by UTVs Paul Clark a great supporter of the Social Enterprise Sector.

Social Enterprise NI awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award to its former chair & CEO of Lisburn based Employers For Childcare, Marie Marin. Marie has over 20 years’ experience as a Social Entrepreneur and is a fantastic leader and advocate for a Social Value Act for Northern Ireland. It was Marie’s social vision which established Employers For Childcare when she identified that the lack of affordable, quality childcare and information for parents on work-related issues, were barriers to employment. Our current chairman John McMullan, who himself received a lifetime of achievement award last year presented Marie with her certificate and paid tribute to this wonderful leader in our Sector. Congratulations to Marie on her Award. It turned out to be a big night for Marie and her team as later in the evening they were crowned the 2019 NI Social Enterprise of the Year.

Due to the increasing popularity of the awards, this year the awards moved to a bigger venue at the Crowne Plaza and we would like to thank Rajesh Rana, Anneka Allen and the entire team at the hotel for their excellent organisation and help in make this year’s awards a truly special evening. This year we were delighted to attract some new sponsors including Firmus Energy, Lockton Companies Limited, the Halifax Foundation for NI and also to Sparq AV who came on board this year as our Media Partner and Principal Sponsor, providing the amazing visuals of the evening, capturing the essence of our awards on video, whilst also interviewing our lucky winners. Watch out on our social media channels over the coming days to view our Awards Video.

On the evening there were 13 Categories with the introduction of a new category for Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year.

The big winners on the night were IncredABLE from, the Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon area who scooped 4 awards in total including Employee of the Year for Samantha McCartney with their CEO Nigel Hampton being named Joint Social Enterprise Leader of the Year alongside Leigh Carey of The Hummingbird Project.

There was also a Double Celebration for Jubilee Farm CIC from Larne who won the “One to Watch” category and saw its Founder, Jonny Hanson win the first “Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Commenting on the evening, Colin Jess Director of Social Enterprise NI said “Our Annual Awards evening is always the highlight of the social enterprise year however this year’s event exceeded all expectations.  We are delighted by the numbers who entered, attended and supported the Awards, particularly those new and existing sponsors of the event.  The social enterprise sector in NI is making great strides forward and we are delighted to play our part in this.  Well done and congratulations to all who entered and were shortlisted with a special shout out to those who were successful”.

There was over 80 Entries this year making it very difficult for the Judges to shortlisted for the 13 categories and for a full list of winners and those Highly Commended go to our website via this link

Thanks to all our shortlisted entries and especially to our sponsors of our awards, our suppliers and our Booklet Sponsors for who without it would be impossible to run our annual awards evening.

The evening was rounded off listening to the Music of Larne Based band Zolene & the A.L.S. Band.

For all the official photos of the Social Enterprise NI Awards 2019 in association with Sparq AV please click on this link


For further information about Social Enterprise NI Events or to arrange an interview please contact:

David Arthurs, Business Development Executive/Administrator

Office: 028 9046 1810  

Mobile: 07925 740395



NOTES: See Link to our recent report on The “Re-Balancing of the Northern Ireland Economy 2019 report on Social Enterprise” to see the size and scale of our sector -