Ballynahinch Business Advisor Wins Top Enterprise NI Award

Emma Garrett from Ballynahinch was given an extra special Christmas present when she was crowned Business Advisor of the Year at the annual Enterprise Northern Ireland awards held in Belfast.

Emma, who is one of the longest standing business advisors in the Local Enterprise Agency network, has been employed by Work West Enterprise Agency in Belfast for the past 12 years. Work West covers the South eastern area and drives the Social Entrerprise hubs in Downpatrick and Lisburn.

[caption id="attachment_53679" align="aligncenter" width="540"]Celebrating success at the Enterprise Northern Ireland Business Awards are (left to right) John D’Arcy, Enterprise Northern Ireland Chair, Alistair Smith, Inspire Business Centre, Junior Minister Jonathan Bell, MLA, Emma Garrett, Work West, and Brian Murray, Representative of Award Sponsor, Lair Design. Celebrating success at the Enterprise Northern Ireland Business Awards are Emma Garret of Work West, with  (left to right) John D’Arcy, Enterprise Northern Ireland Chair, Alistair Smith, Inspire Business Centre, Junior Minister Jonathan Bell, MLA, , and Brian Murray, Representative of Award Sponsor, Lair Design.[/caption]

Receiving her award from sponsors Lair Design, Emma said: “It is a great honour to receive the Business Advisor of the Year award at the Northern Ireland Enterprise Awards. The award is a great credit to all the work that goes on in Work West.”

Speaking afterwards to Down News, Emma added: “There were six finalists and it was quite nerve wracking waiting to the last second to see who had won. My work colleagues were there with me and they were absolutely delighted. I just had no idea if I would win or not. There was serious competition.

“I have been an advisor for 13 years after qualifying in business and marketing at the University of Ulster. I come from a family background of financial advice as my father now retired was an independent financial adviser.

“I’m  also the Chairperson of my local playgroup, the Carryduff Playcare, which I love. It keeps me busy in the community.

“My business day is basically helping with business and marketing plans, getting new businesses set up in social media, helping with projections and working closely with clients in the social enterprise hubs in Lisburn and Downpatrick. It is personally very rewarding to see businesses and organisations get off the ground.”

The best in local enterprise and entrepreneurship was celebrated at the awards which showcases the work done by the Northern Ireland small business community and the efforts of the local enterprise agency network to support business development.

Hosted by broadcaster Sarah Travers, the keynote speaker was Junior Minister, Jonathan Bell, MLA and the event was supported by Legacy Wealth.

Chief Executive of Enterprise NI, Gordon Gough, said: “Enterprise Northern Ireland is the voice of local entrepreneurship and we’re very pleased to celebrate great examples of local ingenuity and talent. Helping to develop strong companies that create employment and export across the world is an important part of what we do.

“These awards are an excellent chance to recognise hard work and dedication of businesses and members of the ENI network. Whether it is through offering business support or highlighting access to finance initiatives, our network of enterprise agencies is playing an important role in stimulating Northern Ireland’s economy.”

During her time working as a business advisor, Emma has had significant experience in both enterprise start up and growth programme development and delivery. She is currently focused on developing new and innovative approaches to both programme delivery and management.

To date Emma has written over 500 business plans, the majority of which have been successfully used to apply for grant and/or loan funding. She has provided business start-up training and mentoring advice to over 2000 individuals.

Emma’s particular specialism is digital marketing and providing practical assistance to clients to build their online profiles. She is well known helping clients find different and innovative ways to solve problems and overcome barriers for their business venture.


Enterprise Northern Ireland is the organisation responsible for representing the interests of Local Enterprise Agencies and small businesses with central government, official agencies, the private sector and other organisations operating in the field of enterprise and economic development. For more information on the awards visit: