Past winners and representatives from local businesses and business organisations all came together to hear about the entry and judging process before a networking event and business fair at the venue. Sarah Scott-Foster, events manager at Archant, which owns The Hunts Post, welcomed guests and explained the background to the awards and talked about why they are important for businesses. It is key for businesses to look ahead and plan and be aware of the relationship they have with their customers, and the awards can help with that process of thinking about your good news story. She also said that past nominees and winners were able to use the awards as a selling and marketing tool. Ashley Smith, chief executive of Hail Weston-based Tensor, which won the Business of the Year award last year, said winning the category had helped the company to raise its profile. Winning the award helped us with our local business profile in the community, which is very important during the recruitment process when we are looking for apprentices and post-graduates. It also helped in terms of getting our name out there and recognising the efforts of our employees in making the company what it is today, he said. In general it was a very positive experience. Lead business awards judge and chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce, John Bridge, spoke at the event and he said: All businesses have really good stories to tell and in business awards it is important to tell us that positive story. We want to hear about the wonderful achievements and the significant progress you have made to the economy. The awards are also a great opportunity to get that story across to your customers and your staff. Entering the awards is a simply process, but make sure you identify all the key things you have achieved to meet the criteria and evidence what you have told us. The main overall benefit is that you can showcase your business and it can help with retention and recruitment of staff, challenges we all face on a daily basis. Information about the entry process is available online at: www.huntsbusinessawards.co.uk. The awards ceremony will be held on November 2 at the Burgess Hall, in St Ives, and will once again be hosted by BBC Look East presenter Stewart White.