Huge numbers of entries have been received for the Hartlepool Business Awards.
Now comes the difficult task for the competition judges of narrowing down the field to shortlists in each of the categories.
And as the process of choosing the very best got under way, awards organisers reminded people to book their tickets for the finals as soon as possible as they are likely to go fast.
Awards co-ordinator Andrew Steel said: “We have had increased number of entries from previous years.
“There have been lots of new entrants this time and the judges have been left with the difficult task of shortlisting in each category.”
Prizes in the Service Sector, Manufacturer of the Year, Community, Business Leader of the Year and Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality will be given.
There are also awards for Creative Industries, Young Entrepreneur, Most Promising New Business, Investment in Training and Best Small Business, and the Overall Business of the Year.
This year, the Gus Robinson Foundation has taken over as the new sponsor for the Overall Business of the Year award.
Television personality Jeff Stelling will be the guest of honour.
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright will also be at the event which attracts around 300 guests to the Borough Hall.
People still have a short amount of time to buy tickets at the rate of £35 per person before April 1. After that, they are £40.
For more information on the awards, visit www.hartlepoolbusinessforum.co.uk