The North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, organisers of the Be Inspired Business Awards, or BIBAs, has announced that the shortlisted entrants for this year’s competition have now been called forward for interview, marking an exciting development in the judging process.
The BIBAs are widely regarded as the most prestigious business awards in Lancashire, and this year’s competition has seen a record number of entries across all categories, covering a range of sectors including manufacturing, hospitality, and professional services, with businesses of all sizes seeking recognition for their efforts.
The Chamber team has been busy carrying out an initial sift of the applications, which the judges have now also reviewed and scored in order to create a shortlist of entrants that will progress to the next stage of the competition.
Speaking about the shortlisting process, Babs Murphy, chief executive at the Chamber, said: “We have been blown away by the quality of entries we have received this year. The judges have had an incredibly tough job selecting the shortlist, as the standard of applications has been so high. We are really excited to now meet the shortlisted entrants in person and find out more about the fantastic work they are doing in their businesses and communities.”
One of the sponsors of the BIBAs, Sustainable Energy First, has also expressed its enthusiasm for the awards and the shortlisted entrants. “We are delighted to be involved in the BIBAs this year, and we have been impressed by the calibre of the entrants. As a company that is committed to sustainable business practices, we are particularly interested in seeing how these businesses are implementing green initiatives and working towards a more sustainable future,” said Ben Beetham.
The shortlisted entrants will now be invited to attend an in-person interview with the judges, where they will have the opportunity to showcase their achievements and explain why they should win in their category. The interviews will take place over several weeks, beginning on Thursday 18th & Friday 19th May, at Blackpool Football Club.
It’s the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic that interviews have been conducted face-to-face, having been moved online for safety reasons.
In a bid to maintain fairness and eliminate bias, judges will each score entrants individually, without conferring, and record their scores using a secure online portal.
Shortlisted entrants will then proceed to the second round of interviews that see the judges visit them on their home turf.
Babs has some advice for shortlisted entrants as they prepare for their interviews: “Remember, nobody is there to try and trip you up, it’s about giving you the opportunity to shine,” she added. “Focus on lifting the details of your application off the page, try to convey your passion and commitment as you bring your achievements to life. But do be prepared for the judges to ask some probing questions as they seek to address any perceived gaps in your application and validate the claims you’ve made so they can score your application and interview responses with confidence.”
Sustainable Energy First echoed these sentiments, saying: “It’s great to be involved in a competition that gives Lancashire businesses such an amazing platform to showcase their work and achievements. The interviews are a brilliant opportunity for businesses to take the facts supplied in the written applications and put some context around them, while also injecting some personality into proceedings. We wish all of the shortlisted entrants the very best of luck, and look forward to maybe seeing them at the ceremony in September,” said Ben.
The awards ceremony promises to be a glittering occasion, with entertainment, a gala dinner, and plenty of networking opportunities. It will again be held at the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom, which provides a stunning backdrop for the celebration of Lancashire’s best businesses. Tickets for the event will be going on sale soon.