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Entries are open for annual business awards

Shropshire Chamber of Commerce has officially launched its 2023 business awards with new-look categories, and new criteria to reflect the changes and challenges in our local economy.

A capacity audience attended Salop Leisure in Shrewsbury for the launch event to hear from organisers, judges, previous winners, and sponsors.

Entries are now open for the showpiece awards, which will be presented at an Oscars-style ceremony at Telford’s International Centre this summer.

Details can be found on the official website here.

The 2023 competition, which is free to enter, is open to all businesses with an operational base in the county of Shropshire or Telford & Wrekin – whether or not they are a Chamber member.

It includes the return of long-running categories including Company of the Year, Best New Business, and Best Small Business.

There are also new-look categories this year for Global Business recognising international trade, Commitment To People, and a return of the Business In The Community award.

“The Shropshire Chamber Business Awards are firmly established among the largest events of their kind in the country, with a history stretching back more than 20 years,” said Ruth Ross, who takes over as the Chamber’s chief executive in April.

“We know that Shropshire businesses are going to be facing significant challenges over the coming year, so it’s more important than ever to celebrate and recognise our success stories.”

The closing date for applications is Friday April 14. Tickets for the awards night on June 23 are now on sale through the awards website – with more than 300 seats already booked.

Here is the full list of categories for 2023, and the criteria which will be used by the shortlisting panel to judge the entries:

COMPANY OF THE YEAR: The showpiece award for an all-round star performer, flying the flag for Shropshire business excellence. Judged on a combination of:

BEST NEW BUSINESS: For businesses in any sector, formed since January 1st 2021. Entries will be assessed on:

BEST SMALL BUSINESS: For businesses in any sector employing up to 10 full-time equivalent staff, demonstrating a high level of success. Judged on:

COMMITMENT TO PEOPLE: For companies which go the extra mile in looking after the needs of their customers. Judged on:

GLOBAL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR: For companies which are ‘flying the flag’ for Shropshire in overseas markets, through strong international trading links. Judged on:

COMMUNITY CHAMPION - BUSINESS IN THE COMMUNITY: For businesses which believe in the philosophy of ‘putting something back’ into the Shropshire community. Judged on:

EXCELLENCE IN MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING: For companies which ‘make things’ and are continuing our proud industrial heritage. Judged on:

WELLBEING IN THE WORKPLACE: For companies which recognise the importance of supporting both the physical and mental wellbeing of staff. Judged on:

THE TRAILBLAZER – INNOVATION AWARD: For companies who have spotted a gap in the market, and thought outside the box to fill it. Judged on:

THE ECO AWARD: For environmentally aware businesses which promote innovative practices, processes or technology. Judged on:

YOUNG BUSINESS PERSON: Open to anyone aged 30 or below in January 2023, who demonstrates flair, commitment and an entrepreneurial spirit. Judged on:

The John Clayton Award, named after a previous Shropshire Chamber president, will also be presented to someone who is judged to have made an outstanding contribution to the local business community.

Launched in 2001, the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards have attracted audiences of more than 900 people for the black-tie celebration.

Aico of Oswestry won the coveted Company of the Year award last summer – retaining its title.

Previous Company of the Year winners include McConnel of Ludlow, Grainger & Worrall from Bridgnorth, Grocontinental of Whitchurch, Salop Leisure and Caterpillar from Shrewsbury, Pave Aways from Knockin, CJ Wildbird Foods of Upton Magna, and Telford-based businesses McPhillips, Dodd Group, Smartwater, Lyreco and Reconomy.