Now is the time to help us celebrate success

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COMMENT: A business community that is simply the best

This has been a hugely challenging year for businesses – so all the more reason to celebrate success and innovation.

Firms and individuals have an ideal means of doing so through The News Business Excellence Awards, for which we are now seeking entries and nominations.

The annual awards dinner will be held at Portsmouth Guildhall on March 11 and it promises to be another memorable night.

During the evening we will salute the winners and runners-up in eight categories – Business of the Year, Small Business of the Year, Personality of the Year, Achiever of the Year, Team of the Year, Community Contribution of the Year, Exporter of the Year, and Innovation of the Year.

All are open for entry – the deadline is February 4 but the advice is not to leave it until the last minute but to start thinking now about the special achievements that can help you stand out from the crowd and earn your firm valuable kudos.

The entry form, which contains full terms and conditions plus the criteria for each award, is available on our website – just follow the link on the homepage.

As before, the ninth award – that for lifetime achievement – is not open for entry, but is bestowed by the judges.

We see it as an important part of our role as a local newspaper to showcase success and achievement in the business community of Hampshire and West Sussex and I think that the awards are the epitome of that commitment.

Good luck to all the firms and individuals who will enter this year's awards.

As with the business excellence awards entry form, the petition form to protest the closure of the G5 ward at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth is also available on our website.

That campaign has been given a huge boost by the government's announcement that the decision is to be scrutinised at an independent review.

Thousands have already signed to protest and organisers, supported by The News, are looking for a last big push before the petition is handed to the government appointed Independent Reconfiguration Panel early in the New Year.

To download a petition form, go to