Family businesses in Lancashire are the latest to be recognised by one of the county’s leading business awards.

The Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, has unveiled the Family Business of the Year as the latest category up for grabs at its awards, which is now open for applications for 18 categories.

Slater and Gordon is one of a number of high-profile local firms which is supporting the awards this year, including shale gas exploration firm Cuadrilla Resources, the awards headline sponsor.

Stephen Chalcraft, a leading commercial property expert at the law firm which has an office in Preston city centre, said the BIBAs recognised the diversity of Lancashire’s economy.

He said: “The variety of different categories available to enter in the BIBAs means businesses of all sizes and sectors and the individuals who are involved in them have an opportunity to be recognised.

“The addition of the Family Business of the Year at this year’s awards recognises another important sector and one which is vibrant and successful in Lancashire.

“Slater and Gordon is delighted to be supporting the BIBAs again this year and we look forward to meeting the cream of the county’s business community as part of the judging process.”

The awards are open for applications until the end of March when all entries will be eligibility-checked and whittled down to a shortlist for each category which will be announced on May 2.

The shortlisted firms will face the judging panel in a face-to-face interview, which get underway on May 15, and those which make the finalists’ shortlist will then receive a visit to their business from the judges as part of a second round of judging starting in June.

The awards have categories including Leisure Business of the Year, Construction Business of the Year, Third Sector Business of the Year and the Most Inspiring Young Person.