FIRMS have already started to show an interest in an awards scheme which carries £12,000 of prizes.
The search for the elite has begun and the interest in the Hartlepool Business Awards is already gathering pace within days of being launched.
Awards co-ordinator John Megson said: “Initial interest in the competition has been really positive even in this difficult economic times.
“Most of the businesses in Hartlepool will be approached in the near future to enquire about entering.
“Tickets for the awards evening are also in good demand.”
All that positive news comes within two weeks of the awards being launched at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience.
The competition has a prize fund of £12,000 and will culminate in a glittering prize ceremony at the Borough Hall on May 17, next year.
Ten category awards will be contested as well as the overall prize of Business of the Year, following in the footsteps of last year’s winners J&B Recycling.
Hartlepool Mail advertising director Chris Grieveson, who is a member of the awards committee, told the launch event: “We have tried to keep the process as simple as possible for companies to apply.
“It is an easy-to-fill-in entry form.
“Last year’s event was the best yet and this year’s awards evening is once again expected to be a sellout.”
Organisers are hoping to get 100 companies to enter the competition.
The search for entries is open now and continues until next March with judging starting in April.
The sector categories are as follows;
l Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Hartlepool Borough Council and Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.
l Service Sector, sponsored by Waltons Clark Whitehill.
l Manufacturer of the Year, sponsored by Tilly Bailey and Irvine.
l Most Promising New Business, sponsored by Hartlepool Enterprise Centre and Brian Beaumont.
l Exporter of the Year, sponsored by North-East Chamber of Commerce.
l Community, sponsored by the Hartlepool Mail.
l Investment in Training, sponsored by Cleveland College of Art and Design.
l Innovation and Technology, sponsored by Qurios Entertainment Ltd and Hartlepool Business Forum.
l Tourism and Leisure, sponsored by Hartlepool Passport Group and Krimo’s.
l Environment, sponsored by Hartlepool Business Forum and Hartlepool Borough Council Environmental.
The overall winner will be in line for a £2,000 prize.
In the Business of the Year award, sponsored by HSBC, entries are restricted to two categories and will be chosen from category winners.
l Closing date for entries is Tuesday, March 6, 2012.
l The awards night will be held on Thursday, May 17, 2012, and tickets for the three-course dinner are £35 each.
l For tickets and more details, contact (01429) 867677.
Anyone wanting to enter can do so via the Hartlepool Mail website at www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk or via www.hartlepoolbusinessforum.co.uk/awards.htm