A Fermanagh woman has been named Northern Ireland Business Person Of The Year by the All-Ireland Business Foundation.

The Managing Director of Shivers Business Park, Helen Shivers – who is originally from Ederney, County Fermanagh –was recognised with the prestigious Northern Ireland Business Person Of The Year accolade in recognition of her hard work and dedication in providing a "best-in-class service to her customers, as well as her contribution to Northern Irish business".

Speaking on the announcement of her accolade, Helen said: “I am most humbled and honoured to be named Northern Ireland Business Person of the Year 2021 and to receive this beautiful accolade from the All Ireland Business Foundation."

The accreditation is overseen by the prestigious All-Ireland Business Foundation, whose adjudication panel is chaired by Dr. Briga Hynes, of the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick, and Kieran Ring, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Institute of Logistics.

Helen was born on a dairy and pig farm in County Fermanagh, where as one of 10 siblings, it was all hands on deck.

The family grew their own vegetables and their hens laid eggs and provided meat for the Sunday dinner.

Helen’s mother – who was a very industrious woman and an expert knitter – was also very good at securing her children part-time after school jobs.

Helen started to work at 14 in a retail shop, where she thrived on the interaction with people. After leaving Fermanagh at 21, she married her husband, Charlie, who was a plumber, and moved to Londonderry.

Helen began helping Charlie with his business, looking after his administration, his purchasing and invoices.

The couple ran their business from a hayshed on their farm but soon began looking for a new site as planners circled and their business grew.

While on the way to a wedding in London, Helen spotted a large, derelict site comprising several old buildings for sale.

It had planning permission to operate as an industrial business, and so the couple swooped and bought the site for £140,000 at auction.

The sale was the beginning of Helen’s successful foray into the commercial property industry.

Alongside her husband and her four children, Helen has since grown the Shivers Business Park from a large, derelict shell into a thriving centre, which is now home to more than 32 businesses, and 300 people.

With the demand for units at an all time high, Helen has bought an additional four acres adjoining her original four-acre site.

With properties also in Cookstown, Ballymena, Larne, Maghera and Kesh, Helen and her team are kept very busy.

Congratulating Helen on her impressive win, Kieran Ring, Deputy Chair on the adjudication board, said: “The accreditation is in recognition of Helen’s outstanding contribution to industry and commerce in Northern Ireland.

"We wish to recognise Helen's track record in the founding and nurturing of Toome Industrial Development.

"[As such,] Helen Shivers is hereby included in the AIBF Register Of Irish Business Excellence.”