Sponsors of the 2016 Dorset Business Awards, in association with the Daily Echo and Dorset Echo, have begun their annual mission to search for the very best examples of Dorset’s business successes following the launch of this year’s Awards at The Italian Villa, Poole, on Wednesday June 15.


More than 100 guests attended the launch event, sponsored by Tower Park-based motor dealership Breeze Volkswagen, to kick-start the competition.


Organised by the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry and also backed by one of the south’s leading radio stations, Wave 105, the awards look to acknowledge dynamic Dorset companies, successful entrepreneurs and flourishing employees who have assisted in driving the region’s economy forward.


Eleven awards are open for entry this year, including three new categories. Four new firms also join the prestigious sponsor line-up and this includes two past winners – TeamJobs, 2015 Lester Aldridge and Santander Company of the Year Award winner and The Training Room, 2014 Business Growth Award winner.

 Categories are as follows:

  1. Business Engagement with the Community Award, sponsored by J.P. Morgan

The winner of this award will be able to give details of community initiatives, particularly those that involve employee engagement, and illustrate the impact these have had on the local community.  Any Dorset school, voluntary organisation, charity or local community initiative can nominate a local business to enter this award but the nominated business will need to submit the entry.


  1. Creative and Digital Impact Award, sponsored by Liz Lean PR and The Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) – new award / 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. Emerging Business Award, sponsored by The Training Room – new award/new sponsor

The winner of this award will honour an organisation experiencing significant growth in the last three years. Businesses will be shortlisted based on their leadership, financial performance, expertise in their sector and the positive impact they are making on their employees.


  1. Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by Bournemouth University

This award will honour an entrepreneur, team or company who have demonstrated the realisation of their entrepreneurial vision.  Judges will look for evidence of success on how obstacles have been overcome to achieve success and how the business has benefited the economic and social well-being of Dorset.


  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 – new award/ new sponsor

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.


  • 8.       Nuffield Health Excellence in Customer Service Award

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. Retail Experience Award, sponsored by the Dolphin Shopping Centre

Open to any retailer based in Dorset, the Retail Experience Award will be presented to the retailer recognising and delivering clear entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen and excellence in customer service.


  1. Team of the Year Award, sponsored by TeamJobs – new sponsor

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. VoIP Unlimited Business Engagement with Education Award

The winner of this award will have established a positive partnership with a local school, university or education programme to help develop the skills of the future work force. This award should only be entered by the business and not the school or educational organisation.


The awards are free to enter and entrants will need to submit an entry via www.dorsetbusinessawards.co.uk, sponsored by RT Brand Communications, by Friday September 9.

The website features details of the awards programme including criteria of each award category, eligibility and information about the glittering awards ceremony in November.


Ian Girling, chief executive at Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says: “Dorset’s most prestigious business awards are now open for entries, which means it’s time to get the recognition firms deserve for another outstanding year of business.


“With this year’s categories boasting new additions, plus the return of well-established favourites, 2016 looks set to be a year for celebrating the breadth of success, enterprise and diversity of Dorset’s business community.”


The Awards campaign will culminate in a gala dinner ceremony on Thursday November 24 at the Bournemouth International Centre.


Companies interested in finding out more about the 2016 awards should visit www.dorsetbusinessawards.co.uk or contact Stuart Dixon on 01202 714810.

Follow the Dorset Business Awards on Twitter @dorsetbizawards for the latest updates as they happen.