Lancashire has what it takes to do business with the world and needs to take advantage, that is the rallying cry of the man behind boosting international trade in the county.

Clive Drinkwater, regional director of the Department for International Trade North West, said the region was seeing strong opportunities across the globe, notably in China and Latin America, and vowed to support any businesses seeking to do business around the world.

However, he said there was still not enough businesses exporting and urged more to look at the benefits available to those who do.

The Department for International Trade North West, the new name for UK Trade and Investment, is sponsoring the Exporter of the Year Award at the Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, one of the biggest business awards in Lancashire.

Mr Drinkwater said: “Lancashire has a strong record of export success across the world, but there are huge opportunities out there for firms to grab with both hands.

“If you take Latin America and the Caribbean as an example, the North West currently exports £353m of goods and services to this region and it is forecasted to continue to grow in the next five years.

“To any business out there which is thinking of exporting, I would say ‘let us support you’, to any which has exported and is no longer doing so, I say ‘there are huge opportunities out there for your business, let us help you take them’ and to any exporters who are thriving, I say ‘shout about it and help us encourage others to join you.’”

The BIBAs has selected the winners of the 19 prizes which will be handed out at its prize-giving ceremony at The Blackpool Tower on Friday, September 16.

Its judging panels have selected the winners of its 17 main prize categories while winners have also been selected for its Most Inspiring Young Person Award and its lifetime achievement prize, Lancastrian of the Year.

The Most Inspiring Young Person Award winner has been selected from names put forward by successful applications to its BIBAs Foundation, the awards’ charitable arm set up to award grants to groups behind youth enterprise.

This award was selected by a panel made up of Foundation sponsor, BAE Systems, the Community Foundation for Lancashire, which runs the charity with the BIBAs, and current Lancastrian of the Year, Ian Hall, chairman of Preston-based retail group, James Hall and Sons.