A Lancashire university leader has praised the quality of applicants to one of the county’s leading business awards, The BIBAs.

Dr Allison Jones, Executive Dean for the College of Science and Technology at the University of Central Lancashire, said the individuals she met during interviews for the Business Person of the Year award were exceptional.

She led a judging panel which included former BIBAs Entrepreneur of the Year Steve Pearson, the founder of Bamber Bridge-based Remvox, and who met applicants on Friday.

Central Lancashire is the UK’s top university for incubating start-up businesses that are still thriving after three years of trading. In the last five years it has helped over 1,000 students or graduates start a business or became self-employed. The University is just one of a number of leading organisations judging the 18 awards categories which have attracted hundreds of applications.

Dr Jones said: “The standard of applications for the Business Person of the Year category at this year’s BIBAs has been exceptionally high and shows Lancashire’s business community is packed with impressive individuals.

“Many of the individuals we met spoke in glowing terms about their workforces and of the importance of developing their people and fostering new talent. This must give us confidence in the future health of our economy.

“My fellow judges and I found it extremely difficult to get our applicants down to a shortlist of finalists, but I look forward to finding out more about them as the BIBAs judging journey continues.”

Today (May 24), the judging panels for the Employer of the Year and Medium Business of the Year categories will meet finalists.

The first round of interviews concludes on Thursday when the Professional Services Business of the Year and the Business of the Year panels meet to select their finalists – with those progressing to the awards finals hosting the judges at their business premises next month.

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