More than 100 businesses from Lancaster and Morecambe have entered the Be Inspired Business Awards, or BIBAs, organisers have said.
Across the county, 1,231 companies entered - a record for the awards - meaning 11 per cent of all entries came from the district.
Fifty-five per cent of applicants put themselves forward for the first time ahead of last Friday’s deadline.
Dr Lis Smith, principal at Preston’s College which is sponsoring the employer of the year category, said entrants would be put through a rigorous judging process.
She said: “Lancashire is home to some of the best and most successful businesses in the country and also to a large number of new fledgling companies and it’s because of this that Lancashire is a great place to do business.
“I’m looking forward to discussing some of the best and most innovative practices our businesses are implementing every day across Lancashire.”