A new award scheme is being launched at Havant to celebrate small businesses in the area.
The News is backing Havant MP Alan Mak’s inaugural Small Business Awards, which will showcase local firms in 12 different categories.
Categories include best cafe, restuarant, street vendor, best home-based business, best new business and best tradesperson.
Two local residents will also be crowned Business Personality of the Year and Apprentice of the Year.
Residents should make their nominations using the online form at AlanMak.org.uk by April 1.
Mr Mak launched the awards with students from the Enterprise Society at South Downs College.
Many of these students want to start, or work in, a small business, and Mr Mak felt he should use the awards’ launch to engage the next generation of small business owners.
He said: ‘Our local small businesses are the backbone of our economy, providing vital services, creating jobs and strengthening our high streets and communities.
‘My Small Business Awards are designed to celebrate and showcase the best local businesses, and I invite residents to send me their nominations.
‘Let’s get behind our small shops, cafes, restaurants as well as our inspirational business leaders and hardworking apprentices.’
Patrick Stewart, 19, a South Downs student who has started his own social business, WeCycle, said: ‘Starting my own business has been a fantastic experience and I know how much hard work our local business owners have put in.
‘I encourage other young people to start their own business and support our local shops and high streets.’
The final ceremony will be at South Downs College in late April.