Connecting Business – Growing Opportunities

Awards night showcases the strength of Irish & Scottish business links

A host of organisations from Ireland and Scotland joined together on the night of the General Election (Thursday, 8 June 2017) to showcase the strength of the business ties between the two countries.

Hosted by the not-for-profit Irish Business Network Scotland (IBNS), the sell-out awards ceremony attracted representatives from the construction, renewables, creative, professional services and the food & drink sectors as well as attendance from Government organisations from both sides of the Irish Sea.

The event, held at the Edinburgh City Chambers, marks the first anniversary of IBNS, which was launched at Edinburgh Castle in June 2016; its aim is to connect business people of all levels from Ireland and Scotland to explore commercial opportunities.

12 months on, IBNS is celebrating its success with both The Scottish Government and Enterprise Ireland reporting strong export figures.

The night was organised to recognise companies and individuals who have embraced business opportunities. Compared by broadcaster John Morrison, the winners were:

– Innovative Start-Up Award – Urban Tide
– Inspirational Business Leader Award – Georgian Antiques
– Social Impact Award – Green Tourism
– Ireland Scotland Relations Award – Roadbridge

Commenting on the night, IBNS Chairman Colm Moloney said: “The Irish Business Network Scotland now represents an established and effective group of business leaders from Ireland based in Scotland, making IBNS the first stop for any Irish or Scottish business looking at export opportunities in both markets.

“The Network represents a group of key decision makers that facilitates an easy and accessible route to market – it is essentially a business development network that is highly effective.

“With Brexit on the horizon, we must work harder than ever to keep the collaboration and business links between our two countries alive. There has never been a better time to join IBNS, and the 1000 or so people who have attended our 13 events pay testament to this.”

Our winners:

Innovative Start-Up Award – Urban Tide

UrbanTide’s aim is to make cities smart by focusing on the integration of people, data and technology to create smarter, more liveable cities for everyone. UrbanTide delivered Innovate UK’s £24m future cities demonstrator for Glasgow, the key focus of which was the £7.2m OPEN Glasgow programme that explored the value in new digital technologies, opened up city data and created engaging solutions for a range of urban challenges.

Since then, UrbanTide have grown from strength to strength, working with a wide variety of clients and partners to develop smart cities and data standards that are used across the world. The result has been a stimulus to innovation, improvement to service delivery and general economic growth. UrbanTide has recently launched its data-sharing platform, USMART to the open data market.

Inspirational Business Leader John Dixon Owner, Georgian Antiques

John is the founder and owner of Edinburgh-based Georgian Antiques, which celebrates 40 years of business in 2018. Georgian Antiques specialises in providing quality British furniture from the 1680s – 1930s, and stocks the largest range of antiques in Scotland across its two warehouses, covering a total of 78,000 feet. Under John’s excellent and hands-on leadership, Georgian Antiques has become one of the most prominent antique sellers in the UK, receiving the Homes and Antiques Award for UK Antiques Shop of the Year in 2013.

In addition to leading the development of Georgian Antiques, John is also a leader within the Irish-Scottish business community in Edinburgh, organising an annual St. Patrick’s Day Business Breakfast, which brings together representatives of a wide range of industry sectors.

Social Impact Award – Green Tourism

Green Tourism is a sustainable accreditation programme, the world’s largest of its kind, that assists tourism and hospitality businesses to create a framework for improving sustainability within individual organisations and the tourism sector as a whole.

Attracting more than 2,000 members across the UK, Ireland, Italy, Canada and Zimbabwe, Green Tourism’s mission is to encourage and enable people to make sustainable choices that reduce their impact on the planet. They offer guidance that covers all aspects of sustainability, from energy and water efficiency, waste management and biodiversity to social and ethical choices. Operating a three-level award programme, Green Tourism offers either Bronze, Silver or Gold accreditation awards, depending on the sustainability actions taken by the business.

Ireland Scotland Relations Award – Roadbridge

Founded in 1967, and operating in Ireland, United Kingdom, Poland, South Pacific and the Middle East, Roadbridge is a leader in Civil Engineering and has completed major projects for clients in the transport, renewables and energy, utilities, commercial, industrial, waste management and leisure sectors. Operating in Scotland since 2010, the company has completed major civil engineering works in oil and gas as well as renewable energy and transport infrastructure.

Roadbridge has increased its Scotland turnover from £5m in 2015, £30m in 2016 on to a projected £80m in 2017. The company has also increased its workforce in Scotland from 50 in 2015 to over 250 in 2017 with the proportion of Irish based personnel dropping from 80% to 30% over the same period. Roadbridge is currently expanding into public works contracts across Scotland having worked exclusively for private clients over that past 5 years.

The Board and Committee of IBNS would like to thank Malone’s on the Mall & Festival Village for their sponsorship and support of the 2017 Awards Dinner.



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