There are just three days left for Lancashire businesses to get their entries in to one of the county’s leading awards.

The deadline for the Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, closes at 5pm on Friday with businesses able to enter 18 prize categories covering businesses large and small and across a range of sectors.

In 2014, more than 1,200 businesses applied for the awards from across the county.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of organisers, the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said they had seen a sharp increase in applications at the deadline looms.

She said: “The BIBAs has once again proved to be hugely popular among businesses in all four corners of Lancashire.

“The introduction of initiative such as the BIBAs Academy, a programme of masterclass sessions, networking opportunities and tailored mentoring open to our winners, and our charitable arm, the BIBAs Foundation, has only heightened the demand to lift one of our trophies.

“We are more than just a business awards, we are a business development opportunity which gives our winners the chance to thrive, generating more jobs and prosperity for Lancashire.

“My plea to anyone considering entering this year’s awards would be, give yourself time to do yourself and your business justice – do not leave it until the last minute.”

She added all applications would now be checked over to ensure they are eligible for the awards and scored against a criteria before 12 entrants are put forward for the first round of interviews which get underway in a month’s time.

The judging panel for the Manufacturer of the Year will meet at the Chamber’s Fylde office in Blackpool on May 11 to begin a 10-day programme which will produce between six and eight finalists for each category.

From June 8, the judging panels will then go ‘on tour’ for a second round of judging which will take place at the finalists’ business premises.

Babs Murphy said: “The BIBAs first sent our judges on tour last year and it proved an extremely popular with our applicants and judges.

“They were able to get under the skin of our finalists businesses and really find out what makes them tick.

“It is these unique elements which mean our winners are truly the very best of the best that Lancashire has to offer.”

The winners will be unveiled at a prize-giving ceremony held at the Blackpool Tower on Friday, September 11 when the BIBAs’ lifetime achievement prize, Lancastrian of the Year, will also be handed out.

The awards has secured a glittering line-up of sponsors for this year including headline sponsor global creative agency Saatchi and Saatchi, which has Lancashire-born Kevin Roberts as its Global Chief Executive, nuclear fuel manufacturer Westinghouse and export body, UK Trade and Investment.