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2020 business awards will be the biggest and best yet

Shropshire’s annual business awards celebrate their 20th anniversary this year – and organisers say they are pulling out all the stops to lay on the biggest and best celebration yet.

The showpiece event, organised by the chamber of commerce, returns to the International Centre in Telford, which has been its spiritual home since 2003, on Friday June 12.

But this year, for the first time, the annual glittering ‘Oscars’ evening will be preceded by a huge conference and showcase, flying the flag for Shropshire’s business excellence.

The chamber is putting together the largest ever Shropshire-themed business conference, with around 500 delegates expected, and a line-up of expert speakers, due to be announced soon.

Throughout the day, around 150 Shropshire businesses will also be exhibiting and demonstrating at the International Centre, before the stage is set for the black tie awards night, which will once again be hosted by Shropshire Business editor Carl Jones.

Chamber chief executive Richard Sheehan said they wanted to do something extra special this year to mark the 20th anniversary of the awards, firmly established among the largest and most prestigious events of their kind in the UK.

“We have put together something on a scale which Shropshire business has never seen before. We hope that everyone will get behind it, and appreciate the opportunities that it will create.

“The conference will be divided into four key sessions, designed to give attendees the flexibility to pick and choose areas of interest - whether that’s attending a presentation in the morning, walking the exhibition floor in the afternoon, or maybe scheduling a one-to-one meeting in the venue’s business lounge in-between.

“The awards are firmly established as the biggest night on the Shropshire business calendar – and we are expecting the 2020 evening celebration to be the most spectacular yet.”

All the usual awards categories are up for grabs, including Company of the Year, Outstanding Customer Service, and prizes for new and small businesses.

This year, though, there is also a Champion of Champions award which is open to all previous company of the year winners, while other new awards for 2020 include a Workplace Health and Wellbeing trophy.

The winner of the prestigious Company of the Year award will have to demonstrate its all-round business excellence, in fields such as financial performance, pursuit of excellence, leadership, customer service, sales and marketing, and environmental policies.

They will also need to excel in staff training and development, innovation and ambition, commitment to the community, and provide evidence of awards, testimonials, and accolades.

Mr Sheehan said: “As usual, the award categories are open to all businesses in Shropshire – any size, any type of business, whether you are a start-up looking to make a name for the first time, or a previous winner.

“You don’t need to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce or any other organisation; you simply need to have a base in the county. There are 18 awards this year, so why not give it a go?”

He added: “Winning one of these awards can be a real boost for you, your employees and your business.​ Over the last 19 years, it has been very clear that this is not just about businesses being recognised as success stories – it’s about business owners recognising the success their employees bring.

“Such an extraordinary day for business will present huge opportunity for profile raising through sponsorship with packages to suit every pocket available.”

Salop Leisure in Shrewsbury – a former Company of the Year champion – hosted the official launch of the awards, where more than 100 business people gathered.

Mr Sheehan opened the event with a rundown of the programme, before Carl Jones explained the 2020 categories and remaining sponsorship opportunities.

He also interviewed Steven Owen, managing director of reigning Company of the Year Paveaways, who told what winning the award had meant for his Knockin-based business, and the workforce. The Paveaways team have been touring the region with their trophy since their victory last summer.

Carl also spoke at the launch event to Helen Spencer of Whittingham Riddell who explained some of the profile-raising advantages of becoming a sponsor, followed by Maisie Owen of MO Management Consultancy, who has been a judge for the past five years. She gave some top tips for compiling an impressive award entry.

The Chamber is once again teaming up with award-winning events company Yarrington, based at Frankwell in Shrewsbury, for the production of the conference, showcase and awards night.

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