Greater investment is needed to support Britain’s small small business community to tackle unemployment, according to a Lancashire business leader.

Norman Tenray, president of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said the “obsession with the biggest” and focus on the areas of the economy proving to deliver.

In 2014, figures showed small businesses accounted for 60 per cent of employment, outperforming both medium-sized and larger businesses.

OBAS, the Longridge-based firm founded by Mr Tenray, is once again backing the Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, which is now open for applications.

Mr Tenray said: “In terms of the number of jobs they continue to deliver and the amount they contribute to UK plc, small businesses have a proven track record of delivery.

“Yet, the rhetoric of Government focuses too much on a small handful of the biggest, we need to drop this obsession and rebalance the support.”

He said the BIBAs, the biggest and most-established business awards in Lancashire, was playing a crucial role in developing businesses through initiatives such as the BIBAs Academy.

Introduced last year, it offers winners of its prizes access to a package of workshops and support from some of Britain’s top business leaders, led by Lancaster University Management School.

Mr Tenray added: “The BIBAs has gone beyond simply celebrating the achievements of our business community and become a business development opportunity.

“When its winners leave the Blackpool Tower with their trophies on September 11, they will take with them the chance to grow their businesses, grow their people and grow their leaders.

“That is what sets these awards apart and that is why OBAS continues to support them.”

On Friday (February 20), the awards will host a ‘boot camp’ workshop for businesses seeking to apply for one of its prizes at Lancaster University Management School (LUMS).

Babs Murphy, chief executive of awards organisers, the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said places were still available at the boot camp.

To book a place, click here