A group of Lancashire business leaders will visit companies across the county as they pick the winners of the county’s biggest business awards.
The Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, has confirmed it will send its judges in to business premises to get a first-hand look at how they operate.
Its judges will go ‘on tour’ as part of a second round of interviews scheduled to take place in June for the awards which open for applications next Tuesday, January 14.
The awards has also unveiled Superfast Lancashire, which is bringing fast, fibre broadband to 675,000 of businesses and homes across the county by the end of 2015, as its headline sponsor for 2014.
Ellie Hamilton, associate dean for enterprise at Lancaster University Management School who has been a BIBAs judge for the past five years, said: “By sending judges on tour, the BIBAs is yet again setting the standard for business awards to ensure it truly is the one they all want to win.
“I know how difficult understanding how a business operates can be from an application form and a single interview.
“Going into the heart of the businesses bidding to win a BIBA will give judges an unrivalled understanding of what makes them tick and enable us to select the very best of the best.”
The identity of the judging panels will be unveiled later this month with awards organisers, the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, promising “big hitters” from the county’s business community.
Tony Morgan, head of business engagement at headline sponsor Superfast Lancashire, said it was delighted to be partnering with this year’s BIBAs and is excited to unearth outstanding achievement and excellence in local businesses.
Superfast Lancashire is bringing high speed fibre broadband to 97 per cent of the county by the end of next year so we know all about going the extra mile.
He said: “You can work smarter, faster and better with superfast broadband. It will help you improve productivity and use your resources more effectively, so it is fitting we celebrate achievements of outstanding local businesses who are doing just that.
“Working more efficiently helps improve productivity which is a huge part of what makes you an award-winning business, and that’s exactly what superfast broadband is proven to deliver.
“The BIBAs is recognised as the county’s leading business awards and we wanted to be a part of the one they all want to win.”
Chamber chief executive Babs Murphy also revealed plans to split the BIBAs’ ceremony at the iconic Blackpool Tower on Friday, September 12.
It will hold its prize-giving ceremony in the Circus Theatre followed by a celebration dinner in the Tower Ballroom with entertainment by global performers.
She said: “By holding our prize-giving ceremony at the start of the night, we can ensure those businesses who pick up prizes are recognised for their outstanding achievements.
“Then it is down to the Tower Ballroom for party time.”
In 2013, more than 900 business leaders attended the awards’ ceremony at the Blackpool Tower and were entertained by an all-star cast including host and television star, Eamonn Holmes, X-Factor winner Matt Cardle and Marcus Bentley, the voice of hit reality television show, Big Brother.