'A FREE boost for your company' is the message coming from the organisers of an awards scheme celebrating the best of business in north Hampshire.

The INSPIRE Awards organisers are looking for more entries into the scheme this year and are urging those in business to put themselves, their business, or a colleague forward to be in with a chance of picking up one of the prizes at a ceremony in November.

Organised and managed by Destination Basingstoke, the awards were attended by over 500 people last year, representing more than 180 businesses from the region.

Speaking at a recent INSPIRE board meeting, John Biffen, partner of Menzies LLP and chair of the INSPIRE board, said “Entering the awards is free and simple to do online, it gives your business a boost, we get great feedback every year from those involved in the process, not only the winners but the finalists that feel they get a lot out of entering the awards and reflect and celebrate their business successes.”

Board member Beryl Huntingdon added: “Don’t be too modest to put yourself forward. You have to be in it to win it.”

Sarah Hunt, from Hunts of Basingstoke which won the Family Business of the Year Award in 2017, added: “Winning an INSPIRE award has been such a fantastic experience for us – it was a privilege to be nominated alongside the other finalists, we loved getting to know the judges and winning was the best surprise.

"The response we’ve had to our win has been incredible; so many people have got in touch to wish us well and it’s been a great morale boost for all of our staff.”

The award categories this year are:

  • Female Achiever Award- Sponsored by Willmot Dixon

  • Business of the Year Award – Sponsored by Herrington Carmichael

  • Small Business of the Year Award – Sponsored by The Breeze FM

  • New Business of the Year Award – Available to sponsor

  • Business and the Community Award – Sponsored The Basingstoke Gazette

  • Employer of the Year Award- Sponsored by HR Department

  • Apprentice of the Year Award – Sponsored by University of Winchester

  • International Business of the Year Award - Sponsored by FLUOR

  • Innovation Excellence Award – Available to sponsor

  • Service Excellence Award - Sponsored by Vitacress

  • Young Business Person of the Year Award – Sponsored by Minuteman Press

  • Entrepreneur of the Year Award – Sponsored by Inchora

  • Family Business of the Year Award – Sponsored by Brackenwood Windows

To enter your business into this year’s awards, go to inspirebusinessawards.co.uk.