Celebrating Innovation and Excellence: Highlights from the Digital DNA Awards 2023

The 8th annual Digital DNA Awards, which took place on the 30th of March 2023 at the ICC Belfast, was a resounding success with over 750+ people in attendance.  The event saw the best and brightest individuals and organisations in the technology and digital industry come together to celebrate their achievements over the past year. Attendees were treated to an exciting evening filled with entertainment, networking opportunities, and inspiring speeches from industry leaders. 

Since its establishment in 2016, the Digital DNA Awards have been a prominent celebration of individuals, projects, and companies across the highly competitive tech and digital sector in Northern Ireland. 

The awards have earned a reputation as the most significant recognition event within the NI Tech and Digital Community. They showcase the exceptional work of the industry’s finest, ranging from start-ups to scale-ups, developers, engineers, entrepreneurs, corporates, and project teams.

Global Recognition Award 2023

The Global Recognition Award for 2023, one of the most prestigious categories in the tech and digital industry in Northern Ireland, was awarded to John Healy at the recent Digital DNA Awards ceremony. 

John was recognised for his remarkable commitment to the tech sector in Northern Ireland, where he has made significant contributions across multiple companies over the years. His exceptional leadership skills and innovative approach to technology have earned him a reputation as a respected figure in the industry, with many people citing him as an inspiration. The Global Recognition Award is a testament to John Healy’s achievements and the impact he has had on the tech sector, not only in Northern Ireland but globally.

Pictured: Host Zoe Salmon and John Healy

Our 2023 Winners

Digital Innovation of the year 

The Digital Innovation Project of the Year award acknowledges companies that persistently strive to solve significant challenges using state-of-the-art technologies. These companies consistently push the boundaries and utilise cutting-edge technology to tackle complex problems.

Allstate Northern Ireland was declared winners of this year’s award for their groundbreaking Legal Automation Toolkit. According to the judges, the project was a remarkable solution with a worldwide route to market, making it an outstanding achievement.

eCommerce Project of the year 

The E-commerce Project of the Year award for this year recognises a company for being at the forefront of digital commerce and demonstrating innovation in their approach to e-commerce.

The recipient of this year’s award for the Early Rider project in the E-commerce category was Built For Growth Digital. The judges were impressed by the clarity and focus of the project, which successfully met the brief and provided exceptional value to the client.

Young Person of the year 

The Young Person of the Year award is a highly coveted category that consistently receives numerous entries every year. This award recognizes individuals who distinguish themselves in their roles by demonstrating radical innovation and actively seeking out personal development opportunities to advance their careers. These individuals make significant contributions to their companies and stand out for their exceptional performance.

This year’s recipient was Nuala Houston, from Scileads. The judges were impressed with Nuala Houston’s exceptional performance and recognized her as a rising star to watch out for in the industry. With her promising skills and talent, Nuala is on the path to a bright future.

Digital Marketing Project of the year 

In today’s business landscape, marketing has become an essential aspect for every organisation. Origin Digital was awarded for their exceptional work in this field. 

Their Thrive Campaign for Danske Bank was recognized by the judges as an impressive project that delivered substantial results and benefited the brand as a whole.

Startup Company of the year 

Northern Ireland’s tech industry is built upon the foundation of strong and innovative start-ups that push the boundaries of what is possible. These companies are at the forefront of technological advancements, and this year’s winner of the award for Best Start-Up reflects this. 

This year VR Park was recognised for their exceptional innovation and contribution to the tech industry in Northern Ireland.

Developer of the year 

The Digital DNA Developer of the Year category is always a popular one, as it recognises individuals who have made a significant impact on the tech industry in the last 12 months. 

Dylan Wylie from Cloudsmith was awarded this year’s Developer of the Year award for his exceptional skills in working with clients and simplifying complex technical concepts into a clear understanding. The judges were impressed with his talent and dedication to his work.

Mobile App Project of the year 

The Digital DNA Awards’ Mobile App Project of the Year category acknowledges outstanding apps developed in the past year in Northern Ireland, available on either Android or iOS systems. 

This year, the award was presented to Big Motive and Hamilton Robson for their “Our Place in Space” app. The judges were impressed by the app’s innovative design and user experience, providing a unique way to explore the stars and planets through augmented reality.

Tech Ambassador of the year 

The recently introduced Tech Ambassador of the Year award recognises the outstanding contributions of an individual who advocates for the promotion of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) within the local community. 

The recipient of this year’s award was Angelica Cullinan from KPMG Applied Intelligence, whose dedication and passion for STEM education have inspired and motivated many young people to pursue careers in the field.

Workplace Company of the year 

The Workplace of the Year category acknowledges companies that prioritise a positive workplace culture, emphasising the health and well-being of their employees as well as their professional development. 

This year’s award was presented to FinTrU, recognizing their commitment to cultivating a supportive and inclusive environment for their staff.

Founder of the year

The Founder of the Year award acknowledges exceptional individuals from Northern Ireland who have made a significant impact locally or globally by establishing a leading business, creating opportunities for others, and deserving recognition. This year’s winner was Chris Gregg, founder of Lightyear.

Tech For Good Project of the year 

The award for Tech for Good project of the year acknowledges a company or organisation based in Northern Ireland that has created a socially responsible and pioneering technological solution to address an issue affecting society locally or globally in the past year.

Empatheyes was the recipient of this year’s award. Our judges commented that the team has developed a critical and focused initiative to aid in solving some of the most pressing problems of today.

Scaleup Company of the year 

This year, a new category was introduced, The Scaleup of the Year, which honours fast-growing startups that have achieved an annual recurring revenue (ARR) of £500k or raised over £1 million in venture capital (VC) funding. 

The winner for the  inaugural Scaleup Company of the Year award, was cloudsmith. A fantastic achievement for them.

Sustainability Project of the year 

The award for the most outstanding sustainability project of the year acknowledges a remarkable company or initiative that is dedicated to developing impressive climate technology projects and making significant contributions to the United Nations’ sustainability objectives. 

PwC NI was selected as this year’s winner for their ESG Reporting Tool. The judges were impressed with PwC NI’s inventive approach that benefits both the industry and the environment.

Small Tech Company of the year 

The award for Small Tech Company of the Year acknowledges exceptional small-scale, locally-owned companies that are introducing innovative solutions or disrupting an industry, while creating opportunities both domestically and abroad. This year’s recipient of the award is Lightyear.

Large Tech Company of the year 

The award for the Best Large Tech Company of the Year honours companies that are introducing new products or services that have a significant component developed in Northern Ireland and are contributing to the local economy by generating employment opportunities within the region. 

This year’s recipient of the award is Kainos. Our judges were impressed by the remarkable growth of the company and their unparalleled dedication to their employees and the community as a whole.

Business Personality of the year 

The award for Business Personality of the Year acknowledges exceptional individuals who cultivate a work culture that inspires, motivates, and engages employees at all levels, while fostering innovation and ambition. 

This year’s recipient of the award is Ross Hampstead from ASOS. Our judges were impressed by Ross’s exceptional leadership skills and his ongoing efforts to promote diversity and equality within the broader tech community.

Company of the year 

The last award presented that night was for the Digital DNA Company of the Year. The recipient of this award is determined by a combination of the judges’ scores and a public vote, which closed earlier in the day. The winner of this year’s award is Kainos.

This year’s Digital DNA Awards showcased exceptional companies and individuals who are driving innovation, creating job opportunities, and making significant contributions to the local economy and the wider tech community. 

We look forward to doing it all over again next year. View our photo album here https://photos.app.goo.gl/7yA2XSevgKwFFDzc8

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