Following a prestigious event held at The Italian Villa, Poole, the 2017 Dorset Business Awards are now officially open for entry.

Sponsors involved with the awards and more than 100 key members of the business community came together to launch the annual celebration of skills, achievements and innovations that Dorset has to offer.

The awards give local companies the ultimate opportunity to put their businesses in the spotlight and gain recognition for their successes. Acknowledgement can be given to thriving companies, prosperous entrepreneurs and ambitious employees all of which contribute to the region’s robust business community.

Organised by the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) in association with the Daily Echo and Dorset Echo, the awards are also backed by the south’s leading radio station, Wave 105. Compromising of 12 award categories, including five new categories for 2017 which are: Business Leader of the Year, sponsored by Pure Networking and DCCI, Dorset Brand of the Year, sponsored by RT Brand Communications, Outstanding Contribution to Apprenticeships Award, sponsored by Sunseeker International Ltd, The Young Chamber Award, sponsored by Blue Sky Financial Planning and UK Exporter of the Year, sponsored by REID Steel. The Dorset Business Awards also welcomes Beales Gourmet at The Italian Villa and UK Luxury Care as new co-sponsors of the Outstanding Customer Service Award.


Seventa Events will be the gala dinner drinks reception sponsor and Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital will be the entertainment sponsor for the gala dinner evening. Brighter Productions has also come on board for the third year running as production sponsor of the awards.


Categories for the 2017 awards are as follows:


  1. Creative and Digital Impact Award, sponsored by Liz Lean PR and Dorset LEP (Dorset LEP new co-sponsor)

This award recognises the talent and contribution of the creative and digital sector in Dorset, by celebrating a project or a campaign that has made a measurable and significant impact to the commissioning client or business.


  1. Francis Clark Family Business Award

This award will celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of family businesses that are innovative, adaptable and make an impact on the Dorset business community. The winning business will be judged on longevity, number of generations the business has survived, profitability, internal culture and involvement in the community.


  1. Investing in Dorset Award, sponsored by UK Health Insurance

An award celebrating those Dorset businesses who proactively support other businesses in the county for the benefit of the local economy. Short listed companies need to demonstrate how they are engaging and trading with other Dorset based businesses and promoting business in Dorset.


  1. Lester Aldridge and Santander Company of the Year Award

All-round business excellence will be the prerequisite for this award. To be in the running to be named Dorset’s premier company, businesses need to demonstrate an outstanding financial track record, with strong sales growth and a commitment to increasing profitability.


  1. Retail and Leisure Experience Award, sponsored by the Dolphin Shopping Centre

The Retail and Leisure Experience Award will celebrate the success and entrepreneurial spirit of the retail and leisure industry. The judges will be looking for companies showcasing outstanding achievement, innovative business concept, business acumen and excellence in customer service which lies behind thriving retailers.


  1. Team of the Year Award, sponsored by TeamJobs

This award offers a unique opportunity to recognise the hard work and professionalism of a team who have exceeded expectations and made a real contribution to the success of a business. The company should nominate and enter the award on behalf of the team.


  1. Business Leader of the Year, sponsored by Pure Networking and DCCI (new award category)

This award recognises an individual who has demonstrated exceptional vision and inspirational leadership, achieving measured and sustainable growth and driving high performance within their organisation. A true business leader is an industry champion, making a significant contribution to the wider business community and the local economy.


  1. Brand of the Year, sponsored by RT Brand Communications (new award category)

This award is designed to celebrate and recognise marketing excellence from Dorset based brands. The award entry is for businesses only and not marketing related agencies.


  1. Outstanding Contribution to Apprenticeships Award, sponsored by Sunseeker International Ltd (new award category)

This award will recognise the effort and investment that Dorset businesses are making in apprentice recruitment and training so that even more business leaders can see the true value of investing in young people, creating further opportunities for candidates and companies in Dorset.


  1. Outstanding Customer Service Award, sponsored by Beales Gourmet at The Italian Villa and UK Luxury Care (new co-sponsors)

This award will recognise the business that can demonstrate across its practices a commitment to providing the very highest level of customer service and in doing so be described as truly customer focused.  Judges will look for entrants who have listened and responded to customers’ needs in order to gain a thorough understanding of their customer base.


  1. The Young Chamber Award, sponsored by Blue Sky Financial Planning (new award category)

This award honours an organisation making a huge difference to young people through their engagement with schools, colleges, universities, clubs and other educational establishments helping to strengthen the link between education and business. The Young Chamber Award recognises those businesses dedicated in supporting the development of crucial interpersonal skills of young people whilst providing invaluable career insights for them.


  1. UK Exporter of the Year, sponsored by REID Steel (new award category)

This award plays tribute to the success and innovative approaches of Dorset Export companies. Extending across all sectors this award is a celebration of the contributions Dorset exporters have made to both the county and international economy.

The awards are free to enter and entrants will need to complete and submit an entry via by Sunday September 3.


For the first time this year individuals and businesses are able to nominate other deserving companies via the website to encourage them to enter a chosen award category.


The website features details of the awards programme including criteria of each award category, eligibility, and information about how to purchase tickets for the awards ceremony on Thursday November 23 at the Bournemouth International Centre.


Ian Girling, chief executive at Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Dorset’s most esteemed business awards are now open for entry. The Dorset Business Awards are the region’s recognition platform that elevates distinguished organisations above the rest.  Entering the awards is the perfect opportunity to celebrate and promote the accomplishments that your company has worked hard to achieve.


“With the addition of five new award categories for this year, there really is something for everyone to enter whether you are from a large or small organisation, an entrepreneur or passionate employee. The awards cover a broad spectrum of categories in order to demonstrate the diverse range of talent and excellence that is present within our business community.’’


Those interested in finding out more about the 2017 awards should visit or contact Stuart Dixon on 01202 714810.