KCC to set up rival awards scheme

Bryan Raine
Bryan Raine

KENT County Council has surprised organisers by pulling its sponsorship of the Kent Business Awards after the 2008 contest and setting up a rival scheme in 2009.

The council informed Priory PR and Events, the Brighton-based founders and organisers, shortly after the launch of the 2008 awards in Maidstone last month.

The decision sets up the prospect of two countywide award schemes competing for sponsorship and prestige.

KCC has backed the awards since their launch in 1993, sponsoring several categories as well as a gala presentation dinner. Its has injected tens of thousands of pounds over the years.

The council is understood to have been unhappy with some elements of the organisation. Other existing sponsors have yet to decide whether to follow KCC’s lead and defect to the proposed new scheme.

Bryan Raine, the council's regeneration and economy co-director, insisted that the council would be giving full support to the 2008 awards, but had been obliged to give Priory a year's notice. under its sponsorship deal.

He said: "We feel the time is right to go it alone and we will be looking to launch a Kent County Council awards event in 2009."

The new contest may bring together awards already backed by the council, such as the Environment Awards for Kent Business, and Kent Design Awards, and introduce awards for film, creative industries, enterprise and entrepreneurship.

Priory, which also runs business award schemes for Sussex, Surrey and the south east, said it was confident of finding new sponsors.

In a statement, it said: "It is early days to be talking about the 2009 awards.

"Negotiations will be going on over the next six months with existing and potential new sponsors and we are confident that Kent Business Awards will continue to have an unrivalled package to offer sponsors and contestants alike."

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