The 18th Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Awards were officially launched today (April 23) and entries are now open.

A breakfast launch event, which featured several previous winners and finalists, took place at Wood Green, before the start of the Huntingdonshire Business Fair.

John Bridge, chief executive of the Cambridgeshire Chamber of Trade and chairman of the award's judging panel, said the awards presented many opportunities for businesses in Huntingdonshire.

“The awards are a real traditional event, but they are also an opportunity to showcase the best of business in Huntingdonshire. We want to trumpet all the positive things, and push forward the way our businesses are performing and developing - going against the economic trend. It is really good that we can celebrate with those businesses.”

Mr Bridge said the judging process was a difficult one and he offered some advice to businesses, reminding them that there was usually only a very small margin that distinguished the winner.

“It is a two-stage process, so remember, you are entering to become a finalist not win it. Make sure you supply evidence and tell us a story, tell us what your wow factor is and what makes you different and how you meet the criteria.”

There are 12 award categories and businesses can enter up to three categories. The deadline for entries is September 4 and the judges will meet on September 14, and over the next few weeks will announce the finalists and visit the companies. The awards ceremony will take place at the Burgess Hall in St Ives on November 6 and all winners will be announced on the evening.

• Small Business of the Year

• Retailer of the Year

• Business Person of the Year

• Employer of the Year

• Business in the Community

• The Innovation Award

• Employee of the Year

• Business Development Award

• Training and Development Award

• New Business Award

• Online Business of the Year

• Young Entrepreneur Award.

Two judges awards have also been entered for this year, a Judges' Award and an award for the business deemed to be the Most Promising.

INFORMATION: Businesses can go to The Hunts Post website and enter online or download an entry form. www.huntsbusinessawards.co.uk