The Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, has unveiled the shortlists for its 17 categories with organisations and individuals from across the county all in the running for a prize.

Eight firms will battle it out to be named ‘the best in the county’.  Bamber Bridge building firm Conlon Construction, Blackpool lighting company Chelsom, ROQ IT from Buckshaw Village and East Lancashire furniture group The Senator Group are all on the shortlist for the Business of the Year award.

They are joined by Kirkham-based energy broker, Inspired Energy, Rossendale water business Suprafilt, Blackburn’s MGS Plastics and Service Care Solutions, the Preston recruitment group, on the shortlist for the top prize.

Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of awards organisers the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said the winners for each category would be selected by a unique round of judging.

She said: “The BIBAs is more than just a trophy for our winners, it is evidence of their success and as a result we do not pick our winners from a simple application.”

“All those on our shortlists have already undergone scrutiny of their application, an interview with our judging panel, and now we are sending our judges out to meet them.

“Our unique judges ‘on tour’ sessions allow the finalists to show exactly what their business is all about and lets our judges get under-the-skin of our applicants in a way you never could through an interview.

“When we announce our winners at our ceremony in September, they will all have truly earned their place in the elite club of BIBAs winners.”

This year sees the awards hand out prizes for a Third Sector Business of the Year and an award for Excellence in Corporate Social Reponsibility, recognises groups who achieve more than business success.

In the Third Sector category, the finalists include Lostock Hall-based St Catherine’s Hospice and Blackpool’s Trinity Hospice, the Longridge Community Gym and Free Style Urban Soccer, which is based in Chorley.

Lytham leadership firm GuidedotYou, Preston charity Recycling Lives and True Bearing, the Chorley independent financial advisor, are all in the running for the Excellence in CSR prize.

The BIBAs will also hand out a Most Inspiring Young Person Award which will be selected from applicants to its BIBAs Foundation, a fund has created to develop an enterprising culture in the youth of Lancashire.

It will also hand out its lifetime achievement award, Lancastrian of the Year, to a winner hand-picked by the prize’s former receiptients.

The BIBAs judges will go ‘on tour’ from June 20 when the panels meet their finalists starting with the Best Use of IT judges and finishing on July 13 when the Business of the Year panel undertakes its visits.

The awards will be handed out at a star-studded ceremony held at the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom on Friday, September 16.