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Record numbers apply for top awards


2013 Awards Winners

THE head of one of Lancashire’s main employer-focused colleges has wished good luck to the record number of companies which have entered a major business awards.

Preston’s College principal Dr Lis Smith said the entrants to the 17 categories of the annual Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, would now be put through a rigorous judging process to ensure the finalists are the very best of the best.

A record 1,231 businesses entered the awards with nine per cent of entries coming from West Lancashire.

The awards’ organisers, the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, are now under-taking thorough criteria checks to ensure all entries are eligible for the categories they are entered for.

Preston’s College is sponsoring the Employer of the Year category for the awards which will host its annual prize-giving ceremony at the Blackpool Tower in September.

Dr Smith said: “Lancashire is home to some of the best and most successful businesses in the country and also to a large number of new fledgling companies and it's because of this that, Lancashire is a great place to do business.

“We have placed Preston's College firmly at the heart of the business community and that is why we're proud to sponsor the award for Employer of the Year Award - honouring the very best employers that the county has to offer.

“I’m personally looking forward to discussing some of the best and most innovative practices which our businesses are implementing every day across Lancashire to make a real difference to their performance.”

Of the record number of applicants, 55 per cent of businesses were newcomers to the BIBAs, the longest-established business awards in Lancashire.

The applications received for the awards will be bench-marked against a set of criteria put together following a major research project involving Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), before an initial shortlist of businesses is compiled and firms are invited back for the first round of interviews.

Chamber chief executive Babs Murphy said all businesses entering the awards would know their fate by Monday, May 5.

She said: “We will let all businesses which have been shortlisted for the first round of interviews know by Friday, May 2, so they can begin preparing for the judging process which kicks off on May 19.

“Our judges have an impossible job every year because even selecting those businesses that are going to the first round of interviews means disappointing hundreds of fabulous businesses.

“By having creating a bench-marking criteria through our research partnership with LUMS, we have a robust way of selecting our finalists to ensure the BIBAs remains the one they all want to win.”

In 2013, Skelmersdale-based Fairbanks Environmental picked up one of the awards’ leading prizes, Business of the Year.

You can apply today for any of the awards up for grabs at by visiting

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