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2020 business awards delayed until November

Shropshire’s annual business awards, which celebrate their 20th anniversary this year, are being postponed.

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

But the chamber has now announced that it will be delayed until November 20, due to the coronavirus scare.

Chamber chief executive Richard Sheehan said: "With an expected audience through the day of around 1,800 people, the event promises to be a true spectacle as we celebrate all that is great about Shropshire business.

"However, as the lead body in what is a magnificent partnership of many, we have decided that we have a duty of care to all concerned. Covid-19 and its manifestation remain much of an unknown, so we have decided the right thing to do is to postpone our event and move it to Friday 20th November 2020 at the Telford International Centre.

"We know this will be a disappointment to some as the event forms a major part of the social calendar. Rest assured we will continue to build the events for the 20th November and will shortly be updating all on the timelines for bookings, judging and entries. Please rest assured all sponsorship, tickets, table purchases will all be transferred to the new date.

"The classic statement ‘The Show Must Go On’ remains in our minds and it will . . . just later in the year."

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.

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.

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.”

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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