HARTLEPOOL’S small businesses have been hailed as the lifeblood of the town economy.
The praise for town firms came from Hartlepool MP Iain Wright as he spoke at the launch of this year’s town Business Awards which are backed by the Hartlepool Mail.
He told a delegation of leading entrepreneurs: “The future of this country is in our creative industries. We are the envy of the globe.
“We have an enterprising way in Hartlepool that gives me enormous faith for the future.”
He added: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of Hartlepool’s economy. You have all got ambition to thrive. We need to celebrate the great role that small businesses provide.”
The awards were officially launched at Cleveland College of Art and Design and carry prizes worth £12,000.
The search for entries is underway and the event will culminate in the grand finale awards night at the Borough Hall on Thursday, May 15.
There are ten categories to compete for, each carrying a prize worth £1,000 and there’s the ultimate accolade of Hartlepool Business of the Year carrying a £2,000 prize.
The categories for the competition are;
Retail sector – sponsored by the Federation of Small Businesses.
Service sector – sponsored by Waltons Clark Whitehill.
Manufacturer of the Year – sponsored by Tilly Bailey and Irvine.
Most Promising New Business – Hartlepool Enterprise Centre and Brain Beaumont
Exporter category – sponsored by the North East Chamber of Commerce.
Community category – sponsored by the Hartlepool Mail.
Training category – sponsored by Hartlepool College of Further Education.
Innovation - sponsored by Digital City.
Tourism and leisure – sponsored by Hartlepool Borough Council.
Business Personality of the Year.
All of the above categories carry a prize worth £1000.
The Business of Year title is sponsored by HSBC. The winner of this category receives a prize of £2000.
Tickets for the event are £35 per person if they are bought before April and £40 after.
For more details and application forms, visit the Hartlepool Business Forum website at http://hartlepoolbusinessforum.co.uk/