Businesses with “innovation, drive and prudent financial management” have been called upon to enter the 2014 KEiBAs.
Past winners hailed the benefits of winning a prize at a launch attended by more than 200 guests from firms across the county.
As the nation emerges from the economic mire, companies were encouraged to show how they have thrived in a difficult business landscape.
Geoff Miles, left, chairman of this year's judges, with 2013 winners Gary Mayatt, Chris Wharton and Jason Crow
Guests at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury, heard from representatives from both the KM Group and KCC, who are running the awards for a sixth year.
KM Group managing director Richard Elliot said: “Awards are a powerful and cost-effective marketing tool, and winning a prestigious KEiBA will help your organisation to stand out from the crowd, boost staff morale, send a positive message to your existing customers and help you attract new ones.
“Undoubtedly, the economic environment continues to be tough for us all, though hopefully there are now some green shoots of recovery.
Anthony Curwen from Quex Park Estates and Clive Stevens from Reeves
“It could not be more important to acknowledge, through KEiBA, those businesses that have met these challenges with innovation, drive and prudent financial management – and, of course, sheer hard work.”
There was also a focus on the help on offer for firms flying the flag for Kent, with loan schemes like Expansion East Kent and TIGER hailed for allocating £11,863,890 to 47 Kent businesses in the county since launching. Another 22 companies will receive £10,558,780 when their contract negotiations are concluded shortly.
KCC's Mark Dance addresses the reception
KCC cabinet member for economic growth Cllr Mark Dance said: “It has been another tough year.
“I have continued to meet with Kent businesses on an almost daily basis and whilst there are the unfortunate situations of those who are struggling and sometimes failing, there are increasingly more and more businesses in Kent with positive and exciting stories to tell.
“The KEiBAs are a great way for them to shine and for other companies to learn from the good practice they demonstrate.”
The awards are free to enter and open to any business or organisation based and operating in the Kent and Medway area, excluding London borough postcodes such as Bromley, Bexley and Orpington.
There are 15 categories, with businesses able to enter a maximum of four.
- 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 closing date for entries is Friday, March 7.
Click here to enter
Business people from across the county gather at the KEiBA launch
Don't miss: More pictures and reaction from the KEiBA launch in next month's Kent Business
Adam Morris from KCC and Clive Steed from UK Power Networks