A Lancashire business leader has hailed the hundreds of businesses which have entered one of the county’s leading awards.

Denys Smith-Hart, the founder of IT firm InterSys Micronics, said the businesses bidding to pick up the 18 prizes on offer at this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, were testament to the diversity of the county’s business community.

All entries are being scored against a criteria created by a unique research project carried out by Lancaster University Management School to bench-mark the awards at similar prize-givings across the globe.

Next Tuesday, the awards’ organisers will unveil the finalists for all its categories with up to 12 applicants going forward to the first round of interviews which get underway next month.

Mr Smith-Hart said: “The quality of entries received for the BIBAs increases every year and this year is no exception.

“In every category we have seen businesses which have shown excellence across the board in everything from top quality customer service to world-class products and services.”