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Seated (L-R) - Andrew Jordan (PwC), Sean Devlin (MCS Group), Orlaith Kelly (Version 1), Síofra Healy (Community Foundation NI), Trevor McCullough Signifyd) Standing (L-R) - Dr Shirley Davey (Ulster University), Professor Jonathan Wallace (Ulster University Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment), Clare Dowds (Ormeau Baths), Jason Bell (iManage), Jeremy Biggerstaff (Flint Studios)

Ormeau Baths confirmed to host Digital DNA Awards 2021

The organisers of this year’s Digital DNA Awards have confirmed the 2021 edition will take place at Belfast’s Ormeau Baths. As well as confirming the venue for the highly respected and anticipated awards on Thursday 1st July, organisers have also confirmed other details, including this year’s Global Recognition Award recipient, shortlist announcements and that the event will have a live audience in the venue.


Now in their 6th year, the Digital DNA Awards are a major highlight on the tech calendar and have been described as the most important and highly sought after awards for the Northern Ireland Tech Industry. Held in partnership with MCS Group, the Digital DNA Awards celebrate the very best tech talent from companies of all sizes in the world of Digital and Tech. Developers, engineers and entrepreneurs, alongside start-ups, FDI’s and project teams will all be vying to pick up a prestigious Digital DNA trophy.


Whilst Covid restrictions mean a full return to an in-person celebration will not be possible until 2022, organisers have confirmed a small live audience will be present in Ormeau Baths, making this year’s event a first of it’s kind and truly hybrid experience for everyone involved.


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Simon Bailie, CEO of Digital DNA has emphasized the importance of the Digital DNA Awards and said he is excited about the return of a live audience.

“The Digital DNA Awards have become an important part of the NI Tech sector so we are thrilled that we can bring this year’s event to such a significant venue as Ormeau Baths, which has played a central role in the growth of the tech sector here in recent years. It’s also fantastic that we can bring back an element of our live audience, which will help create that unique atmosphere of a Digital DNA event.”


Claire Dowds, General Manager of Ormeau Baths also added that she is thrilled to see Digital DNA select the venue for the upcoming awards show.

“Ormeau Baths is best known as the home of the NI Tech Startup ecosystem, with 100’s of local tech start-ups having passed through its doors in recent years thanks to programs such as Propel and Ignite. The team at Digital DNA always puts on a show and we are thrilled that they have selected our venue to showcase and celebrate the very best of the Northern Ireland tech sector.”

In addition to the 13 highly sought-after awards, the 1st July show will also see Sarah Friar receive the Global Recognition Award, which recognises the outstanding contributions made by someone from Northern Ireland on the world of technology and someone who is passionate about supporting the local tech community when they can.


Recognising the contribution of the Northern Ireland native who now works and lives in San Francisco, Simon Bailie from Digital DNA said,

“Sarah is someone who many within the NI Tech community will know, either as one of the original founders of Ormeau Baths, her work with Ladies Who Launch or as the CEO of Nextdoor. I am delighted that Sarah has accepted this year’s award as she is a fantastic champion of the NI Tech scene and a worthy recipient of this year’s award.”

Sarah Friar is CEO of Nextdoor and former CFO of Square. She is also an original founder of Ormeau Baths and founder of Ladies Who Launch

One of the most anticipated categories this year will be Workplace of the Year. The last 12 months have placed an increased emphasis on what the workplace of the future will look like and the environment that employers create for their staff.


Version 1 is this year’s category sponsor and has also recently been placed in the Top 10 Best Workplace in the Large Workplaces category and received the Best Workplace Laureate Award By Great Place to Work®. Lorna McAdoo from Version 1 has said she is thrilled to be sponsoring this year’s Workplace of the Year award adding “Creating a Healthy Place to Work for our employees in which they can be the very best that they can be is hugely important to us. We are excited for the nominations to be revealed and to celebrate the success of being Workplace of the Year.”


Despite the challenging business environment over the past 12 months, the tech industry in Northern Ireland has continued to grow with organisers confirming nominations for the 13 categories were as strong as ever. Organisers have confirmed the shortlisted nominations for all 13 categories will be revealed online over the course of the week commencing 7th June 2021.


Sean Devlin, Associate Director at MCS Group concluded by saying “Digital DNA continues to set the standards as the most sought after awards in the industry, and we are delighted to be part of it once again. After the year that it has been, the 2021 shortlisted nominations will have deserved the recognition as the competition has been stronger than ever. Personally, I can’t wait to celebrate the best and brightest in the technology industry in Northern Ireland!”

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