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It's deadline day for entering the county's business awards

The annual Shropshire Chamber Business Awards are this year celebrating their 18th anniversary - and April 20 is deadline day for entries.

The 2018 event was officially launched at the home of the 2007 company of the year winner, Salop Leisure in Shrewsbury, and managing director Mark Bebb explained some of the rapid growth the company had enjoyed since then.

The awards, rebranded the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards this year, are organised by the county’s chamber of commerce – and there are more categories to enter than ever before.

In response to feedback from the business community, the new and small business awards have both been split into two, in recognition of the differing size of workforces.

There is also an Environmental Innovation category for the first time this year, for businesses which have introduced or developed innovative environmental practices, processes or technology either for use within their own business or the wider marketplace.

A new stand-alone Manufacturing Award is also on offer this year, splitting it away from the Transport and Logistics prize.

The John Clayton Award, in honour of the former chamber chief, will again be awarded this year to someone who has given outstanding service to the Shropshire business community.

Shropshire Chamber chief executive Richard Sheehan said: “The awards are open to all businesses in Shropshire – any size, any type of business, start-ups and of course, previous winners.

“You don’t need to be a member of the chamber of commerce or any other organisation. There are 16 awards this year, so why not give it a go? Winning can be a real boost for you, your employees and your business.

“Over the last 18 years of business awards ceremonies 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 that their employees bring.”

Shropshire Business editor Carl Jones (pictured below), who has been involved in the organisation of the awards since day one, will once again be master of ceremonies at the glittering prizegiving night, to be held on June 15 at The International Centre in Telford.

At the launch event, he interviewed Lyndsey Denning, HR and training manager at reigning company of the year winners, Telford waste management firm Reconomy, who spoke about how the title had significantly raised the company’s profile locally, and been a huge boost to staff morale.

Sarah Offland from Barclays also took to the stage to explain why her company has been a committed sponsor of the awards for the past five years.

Carl said: “I know I speak on behalf of the Chamber when I say that one of the big frustrations is that many companies who enter the awards don’t pay enough attention to the criteria.

“We often get applications from companies we all know are leaders in their field, but because they haven’t answered the specific questions requested in their category, they miss out on being shortlisted.”

Entries are now open, through the awards website www.shropshirebusinessawards.co.uk, and are free. The closing date is April 20, and shortlisted finalists will be announced in early May.

Each shortlisted business will then receive a visit from a panel of judges, before the winners are announced at the Oscars-style ceremony on June 15.

There are still some sponsorship opportunities available, including award categories and other aspects of the prizegiving evening. For full details, see the awards website.

Some of the big-name companies already on board with the awards this year include Nick Jones Wealth Planning, University Centre Shrewsbury, Global Freight, Barclays, Telford College, In-Comm Training And Support Services, The University of Wolverhampton . . . and Shropshire Business.

THE 2018 CATEGORIES

Pictures:: Top - at the Salop Leisure launch, from left, Mark Bebb, Richard Sheehan, Lyndsey Denning, Carl Jones and Sarah Offland. Bottom - Carl Jones explains some of the new categories for 2018

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