THE Fairford and Lechlade Business Club has launched its annual awards, which aim to recognise and celebrate the achievements of local businesses and young entrepreneurs.

The Business Awards have been running for six years and incorporate four main categories, including Business of the Year, Business Person of the Year, New Business and Most Innovative Business.

Club administrator Chris Roberts said the accomplishments of local companies should be applauded. “We aim to reward businesses’ best qualities, such as innovation, energy, entrepreneurship and contribution to the local community,” she said.

She added the judges were looking for outstanding candidates. “We are looking for someone who has developed a truly innovative new product, gone that extra mile for their staff or thoroughly embraced green principles,” she said.

Nomination packs were distributed at last week’s meeting, allowing small, medium and large businesses to put themselves forward. Applicants were invited to complete a form, detailing the background of their business and explaining what made them stand out.

In the past, the competition was only open to members of the Fairford and Lechlade Business Club, but this year, applications will also be welcomed from non-members.

“We decided to allow non-members to enter because it provides an extra networking opportunity,” said Chris Roberts. “They might meet an extra supplier or a potential new customer.”

The club has teamed up with Farmor’s School to offer an additional award for Outstanding Business Student of the Year. The award will be presented to a Year 11 business studies student. “We are looking for the next Richard Branson,” said Chris.

Each category has a local sponsor, who will help to pick the winner at a formal judging day held in Cirencester. The winners will be kept secret and announced at an award ceremony in the New Year. Last year, more than 100 people attended the event.

For more information, visit the Fairford and Lechlade Business Club website