Competition organisers, the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, have revealed the details of the confirmed finalists in all 20 categories after two rounds of interviews spanning more than 400 hours
The applicants to successfully make it through the formal interviews that were staged over two days at Blackpool Football Club in May, and the ‘BIBAs On Tour’ interviews that took place every week day for the whole of June, can finally be officially revealed.
According to Babs Murphy, chief executive at the Chamber, these contestants have all ably demonstrated their prowess to the judges and firmly deserve to have made it to the finals of the competition: “There’s no doubt that every finalist that’s made it this far, through our gruelling judging process, really deserves their place in this list.
“They have not only told but shown our judges that they have what it takes to succeed, and have absolutely earned the right to shout about their progress in this year’s competition, which I encourage them all to do very loudly.
“Our judging process is intentionally no picnic. It is arguably the most robust and in depth of any business awards competition in Lancashire, and it’s what makes the BIBAs so highly respected. Any business, charity, community group or individual that’s reached the finals, and endured the scrutiny we expose them to, has done a great job that really ought to be celebrated.
“Of course” added Babs, “there can only be one winner in each category and these have now all been decided. We can’t wait to reveal them at the awards ceremony in Blackpool in September.”
Norman Tenray, chief executive of OBAS UK that’s sponsoring the Business of the Year award said judging had been exceptionally difficult this year: “The quality and calibre of applicants this year was incredible, you could barely separate them with a piece of paper, it’s been that close. They’ve all been really very remarkable and thoroughly deserve to have reached the finals.”
Dawn Cheetham MBE, director of CKS Catering Supplies, agreed: “We’ve met and interviewed some amazing people and businesses this year. They’re all doing great things to create and sustain jobs and contribute to the Lancashire economy, and it’s been particularly tough to select the winners because the pool of applicants was so good.”