Run by the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, the Be Inspired Business Awards (BIBAs) is Lancashire’s longest running, largest and most prestigious business awards ceremony.
The BIBAs started life in 2008 after the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Business Link Lancashire merged their growing business awards into the county’s largest business awards programme.
The 2008 event took place at Blackpool Tower and brought glitz to the business community with former Spandau Ballet front man, Tony Hadley, providing the entertainment to the 600 attendees.
Having took the Lancashire business community by storm, the BIBAs was quickly established as the ‘one they all want to win’.
The one they all want to win
The BIBAs grew from strength to strength across all fronts. It soon became the awards they all want to sponsor, with leading organisations from across the North West choosing to partner with the BIBAs.
The BIBAs switched its ceremonial home from Blackpool to Preston in 2012, as it was chosen to help commemorate the 2012 Preston Guild. The BIBAs’ team pulled off a major operational coup by staging the main event in a big top tent in Avenham Park, Preston.
In 2014, the BIBAs commissioned Lancaster University to benchmark the awards on an international level. The Lancaster University team carried out a research project that aligned the BIBAs award judging infrastructure with America’s top business awards, The Stevie’s, the European Business Awards and the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise here in the UK.
This led to the creation of the BIBAs Boot Camp event which provides award submission advice to prospective entrants, and by far the most comprehensive award judging process the county has to offer.
Soon after the BIBAs launched the Winners Academy, a masterclass programme for the BIBAs’ winners delivered by leading industry experts such as Kevin Roberts, former Chairman & CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, Edwin Booth, Chairman of North West supermarket firm, Booths and Tony Attard, CEO Panaz & Chairman of Marketing Lancashire.
The Academy also includes development programmes delivered by experts from the University of Central Lancashire and MHA Moore and Smalley.
The BIBAs also runs a Foundation, created to develop an enterprising culture in the youth of Lancashire. The fund is made up of business and personal donations, prize draw money and net surplus from the BIBAs and has donated over £100,000 to young people, charities, social enterprises and community groups since it was founded.
The BIBAs main event not only welcomes the biggest names of the county’s business community but also some of the biggest names in world entertainment. Previous guest speakers include Eamonn Holmes, Stephanie Beacham, Justin Urquhart Stewart and Simon Callow while entertainment has been provided by Jason Donovan, Russell Watson, Peter Andre, The Overtones, Westlife/Boyzone and Lulu.
Guests are treated to drama, entertainment and fun as well as a sumptuous four-course meal, prepared using the finest Lancashire produce led by one of the county’s top chefs.
Today, the BIBAs has 20 awards, involves over 80 judges, welcomes over 1,000 guests and is still the 1 they all want to win.