Business leaders from across Kent will gather for the launch of the KEiBA Awards tonight.
Returning for their sixth year, they recognise the best work by firms and individuals across the county.
Winners and nominees enjoy a gala dinner in June and unrivaled publicity in KM Group titles.
Firms also benefit from the boost to morale given by winning a prize and the independent assessment of the panel of judges.
Run by Kent County Council and the KM Group, there are 15 categories to enter in this year’s awards, launched at the St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury.
Recognising firms leading the way in innovation, leadership and achievement, winning an award can help to attract new business as well as send a positive message to existing customers.
For the first time, this year’s awards have a new manufacturing category, signalling the return of Kent as a great place to make things.
Businesses can enter a maximum of four of the 15 categories, which are:
- Large Business of the Year
- SME Business of the Year
- Start Up Business of the Year
- Best Leisure and Tourism Business
- Best Land Based Business
- Best Manufacturing Business
- Best Science and/or Technology Business
- Business Commitment to the Community Award
- Business Commitment to the Environment Award
- Success in International Markets
- Employer of the Year Award
- Customer Service and Commitment Award
- Entrepreneur of the Year
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year
- Apprenticeship of the Year
The KEiBAs are free to enter and open to any business or organisation based and operating in the Kent and Medway area, excluding London Borough postcodes, i.e. Bromley, Bexley and Orpington.
KCC cabinet member for economic development Mark Dance said: “There is nothing like the KEiBA awards for really throwing the spotlight on the inspiring and successful work of Kent’s businesses.
Celebrating the launch of KEiBA, from left, Mark Dance, Geraldine Allinson and Geoff Miles
“It’s fantastic to add particular recognition for manufacturing businesses – proving again that this sector is not dwindling but is in excellent health and brilliantly showcased in Kent.
"For many people, business is all about the money, but these awards show it’s really about the people – their drive, determination and commitment.
"It truly is a highlight of the county’s year.”
Chairman of Judges for 2014 Geoff Miles, also the chairman of Maidstone Studios, said: “The awards represent a great chance for Kent and Medway businesses to run up a flag and show people why they are at the top of their game.
"That’s why I enjoy the KEiBA Awards so much. They allow our businesses to say ‘this is why we are a great business’.”
KM Group chairman Geraldine Allinson said: “I am very pleased that KM Group is staging KEiBA again this year alongside Kent County Council.
"I would call on all businesses across Kent and Medway to consider entering. Winners and finalists reap enormous benefits from the recognition and publicity they obtain.
"Awards are powerful and cost-effective marketing tools, and winning a prestigious KEiBA can help your organisation to stand out from the crowd, boost staff morale and send a positive message to potential and existing customers.”
The awards judge business excellence in four key areas:
- general business success
- success in sectors central to, or of growing importance to, Kent’s economy
- business management or operations
- individual contributions to success in business and acknowledging young achievers.
The closing date for entries is Friday, March 7.
Entry is done online at www.keiba.co.uk.
Only the best need apply.