IT’S the most important date in the diary for any Portsmouth business and it’s set to return for its 19th year in February.
The News’ Business Excellence Awards see honours handed out in 16 categories across range of subjects – from Apprentice of the Year all the way up to Large Business of the Year.
An event was held at the University of Portsmouth’s new £12m Future Technology Centre last week – attended by representatives from the business community plus past winners – to announce the opening of next year’s scheme.
Lucy Gleisner, from law firm Trethowans, which is sponsoring the awards for its third year, said: ‘We have been amazed and astonished over the past two years about how many entries we have across the categories.
‘What we have found from recent years is that it is not just the winners who get success from these awards.
‘The people putting in the application are also going through a process and taking five minutes to think about their business plan and what they want to achieve.
‘That process is successful for them as they look at where they are in their business and think about what they want to achieve.
‘For those short-listed, it is fantastic as they can use that on their marketing material and promotions.
‘And for the winners, they all get something out of it. Whether it is opportunities, winning new contracts, having more people apply for jobs, they all say that the process has opened doors for them.’
Mark Waldron, editor of The News, said: ‘For almost two decades we have been celebrating the fantastic businesses that we have working around this area.
‘What links a glowing sheep, a cool school and haircuts for the homeless? They are three random things but they are three of the stories that stood out from the judging process of last year’s awards.
‘This shows the depth and breadth of the businesses that we have doing fantastic work in the area.’
Last year, Waterlooville-based Sweet Dreamers, which makes a child’s sleep aid called Ewan the Dream Sheep, won Overall Business of the Year and Small Business of the Year.
Dunham Bush in Havant, manufacturers heating and air conditioning systems, won International Development of the Year, and Pauper to King Barber Shop in Gosport, won the Community Contribution category for its work cutting homeless people’s hair for free.
Mark added: ‘For the companies involved, it’s a great process and you get such a great buzz on the evening but it’s not just about the evening, it gives companies a chance to sit back and think about what they actually do.
‘When you sit back, you get a sense of achievement. We should give ourselves a pat on the back.’
The contest is currently open for applications. It is free to enter and companies can enter two categories.
The short-list will be revealed later this year.
Winners will be announced at the award ceremony, at the Portsmouth Guildhall on Friday, February 1.
Winners from The News’ Business Excellence Awards are automatically put forward to Johnston Press-run Southern Business Awards (see page 44).
There are still opportunities to sponsor the awards, for more information email event organiser Liz Parker on email@example.com