Entries for the Daily Echo-backed Dorset Business Awards 2012 have closed and the judging is now underway to find the county’s best companies and individuals.

Now in its 18th year, the region’s premier business competition is searching for 10 winners to add to the current prestigious list of winners.  Each Award category will have a team of three judges analysing each entry form against the individual Award criteria.  They aim to compile a shortlist of examples of excellence in Dorset businesses commendable for one or more of the 10 Awards.

Three finalists will be selected for each of the following Awards:
•    Apprenticeship Training Award sponsored by Superior – judging panel led by Jim O’Neil, Superior
•    Business Engagement with the Community Award, sponsored by J.P. Morgan – judging panel led Dorcas Williams, J.P. Morgan
•    Business Woman of the Year Award, sponsored by Barclays – judging panel led by Rob Jones, Barclays
•    Dorset Tourism Award, sponsored by Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Liz Lean PR – judging panel led by Peter Scott, Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry
•    Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by Bournemouth University – judging panel led by Professor Dean Patton, Bournemouth University
•    Hays PA of the Year Award – judging panel led by Matt Lewis, Hays
•    KPMG and Lloyds Bank Company of the Year Award – judging panel led by Harry Mears,  KPMG
•    Nuffield Health Excellence in Customer Service Award – judging panel led by David McNair Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital
•    Princecroft Willis Family Business Award – judging panel led by Nick Love, Princecroft Willis
•    Retail Excellence Award, sponsored by the Dolphin Shopping Centre – judging panel led by John Grinnell, Dolphin Shopping Centre

Finalists will be announced by the end of October and invited to a glittering Gala Dinner Awards ceremony at the the Lighthouse, Poole, on Thursday November 29 where the overall winners will be announced.

Peter Scott, chief executive of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says: “With so many Dorset firms giving grounds for optimism even in the most challenging of economic climates, our judges face a tough task in selecting winners.”

He adds: “The lead judges are people with vast knowledge and experience of business in Dorset, experts who are all aware of the challenges firms in the county have to overcome in order to thrive in these challenging times.  Judging always proves to be a challenge to highlight one winner and we would like to thank all those who entered this year.”

The Awards are also backed by the south’s leading radio station Wave 105, and supported by the Dorset Echo.  To purchase tickets for the Gala Dinner please contact Shirley Ewart on 01202 714812.  Tickets to the Awards Gala Dinner cost £85+VAT each or £800 + VAT for a table of 10 (Dorset Chamber members) and tickets cost £95+VAT each or £900 + VAT for a table of 10 (Non-Dorset Chamber members).