Finalists unveiled for top county awards

Firms from across Lancashire bidding to win one of the county’s leading business awards have been revealed today.

The finalists for 17 prizes up for grabs at the Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, have been published following a rigorous selection process which culminated in interviews held over the past fortnight.

A total of 34 firms from the Preston area are among the finalists unveiled today along with 14 firms from South Ribble, 11 from Lancaster and eight from Chorley.

The top award, Business of the Year, has as an eight-strong list including Leyland firm Bleep UK, Chemical Innovations from Bamber Bridge, marketing firm ICG Brandbuilders from Warton, and Kirkham energy brokers Inspired Energy.

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla Resources which is sponsoring the awards’ New Business of the Year category, said each of the shortlisted firms would now receive a visit to their business premises from the judges.

He said: “The decision of the BIBAs to send judges ‘on tour’ to visit businesses which have made the finals an example of the type of innovation which keeps it as Lancashire’s leading business awards.

“There can be no better way to understand what makes a business tick than by going onto the shop floor and meeting the people that make it happen.

“At Cuadrilla we are committed to maximising opportunities for local business, both established and newly-formed, as we seek to unlock Lancashire’s energy.

The Ernst and Young supply chain study – Getting Ready for Shale Gas – was launched in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens recently, and the enthusiasm demonstrated by the many local businesses who attended was outstanding.

“I would be thrilled if some of the exceptional people who we are meeting during the course of the BIBAs judging process end up working with us.”

Cuadrilla Resources is a UK company. Formed in 2007, its focus is on bringing together experts to recover natural gas from shale.

Lancashire is well-placed to become a European leader in this emerging energy industry. This natural gas could reduce the country’s reliance on imported gas and secure investment and jobs in the County for many years to come.

Preston-based textiles firm Tetrad is up for the Exporter of the Year award and Manufacturer of the Year, financial services firm Taylor Patterson is in the running for Employer of the Year and Professional Business of the Year, with Steve Pearson, chief executive of Bamber Bridge-based communications experts, Remvox, in contention for Entrepreneur of the Year and his firm also up for New Business of the Year.

The BIBAs judges will start visiting finalists from Monday, June 9 when members of judging panel for the E-Business of the Year category visit their shortlisted businesses.

The judges will continue to go ‘on tour’ until Tuesday, July 1 when the Business of the Year judging panel visits finalists.

A panel made up of former winners of the BIBAs’ lifetime achievement prize, Lancastrian of the Year, will meet this month to pick the winner of the 2014 award, with a 19th prize, Most Inspiring Business of the Year, due to be selected by sponsor the Lancashire Community Foundation before the prize-giving ceremony in September.

In 2013, John Lancaster, the founder of Ribble Valley-based conservatory manufacturer, Ultraframe, collected the lifetime achievement award, Lancastrian of the Year, with other winners including Burnley-based textiles firm, Panaz Fabrics, and listed energy broker, Inspired Energy.

If you want to give your business a bigger competitive edge, enter the BIBAs today.

Nominations Close: 6th April 2018