Judges to go on tour as awards return ‘bigger’

Dr Ellie Hamilton, now in her sixth year on the BIBA judging panel.
Dr Ellie Hamilton, now in her sixth year on the BIBA judging panel.

Judges are to visit companies across Lancaster as entries open for Lancashire’s top awards schemes.

Organisers of the Be Inspired Business Awards, or BIBAs, also announced three new categories for construction, leisure and micro-business of the year as they promise 2014 will be the “biggest” year yet.

The visits are aimed to give the judging panel an insight into how nominated firms operate and are run.

As entries open for another year, North Lancashire entrepreneurs are expected to take inspiration from high-tech Halton-based Connect 2 Cleanrooms, which won last year’s “change for growth” category after expanding its workforce, sales and moving into larger premises.

The firm also recently announced a research project with Lancaster University Management School, looking at business awards across the globe to see how the BIBAs could be improved.

Dr Ellie Hamilton, 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 panel 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.

Superfast Lancashire, which is bringing fibre broadband to 675,000 businesses and homes by 2015, has been named the headline sponsor for this year’s awards, which will culminate in a prize-giving ceremony and celebration dinner at Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom in September.

Nearly 1,000 businesses entered last year. To apply for any of this year’s categories, visit www.thebibas.co.uk