Medium-sized businesses play a crucial role in the success of Lancashire’s economy, according to a leading legal advisor.

Stephen Chalcraft, principal lawyer for commercial property at law firm Slater and Gordon, said the influence of the sector in the county’s economic prosperity should not be underestimated.

“When we talk about the business community, we often refer to small businesses and major blue-chip firms, but there is a huge amount of people employed medium-sized businesses.  In Lancashire, I saw some fantastic medium-sized businesses which were innovating to drive growth and employment and I have every confidence this crucial sector of our economy will continue to deliver in the same way as our small and large businesses are doing”

The lawyer led the judging panel which selected the Medium Business of the Year award for this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, which his firm is sponsoring.

Next month, the winner of the awards’ 18 prizes will be unveiled at a ceremony held at the Blackpool Tower.

Among the finalists for the Medium Business of the Year category at this year’s awards are Preston-based Lantei Compliance Services, Morecambe firm AM Support Services and Nelson’s Marsden Building Society.

The awards will be handed out at a ceremony on Friday, September 16, which is expected to take place in front of a sell-out crowd.

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.