IT is now up to you.
Nominations for the region’s premier business awards are now open after a launch event last night at Southampton’s Grand Harbour Hotel.
The South Coast Business Awards 2013 will see eight prestigious gongs awarded to top companies who strive to be the best.
Organised by the Daily Echo in association with leading law firm Trethowans the awards aim to raise standards, encourage competition and recognise business excellence.
They are being run in partnership with Business Solent and Destination Southampton.
Speaking at the launch, Daily Echo editor Ian Murray said: “The really fantastic news is that this is the third year of the South Coast Business Awards and it has been going from strength to strength.
“We have more people at this launch event than we have ever had before – and it is no wonder really because these are the only awards that actually recognise business excellence in a number of categories here in the Southampton region.
“It is really important that local businesses actually get involved, that anyone who thinks that their business, their employer or someone they know should be nominated, then nominate them.
“It is only by standing and shouting about ourselves that we actually persuade others of what we know is the truth – businesses here in the Southampton region are doing extremely well.
“Yes of course there are challenges, but they are being overcome.”
Trethowans’ managing partner Simon Rhodes said: “These awards are about celebrating businesses along the south coast, about how successful and strong they are.
“And we are extremely proud to be involved in celebrating that.
“The benefits of these awards are to talk about what a good place this is to base your business and move your businesses, to keep on growing and to take on people.
“That is a good message to get out there.”
Winners will be revealed at a glittering black-tie event on July 12, where the guest speaker will be Michael Portillo, a former Tory MP turned TV political pundit and broadcaster.
Last year’s big winners were Southampton-based Salon Supplies, which won the acclaimed Trethowans Business of the Year Award and the Smith & Williamson Growth Business Award.
Founded in Chandler’s Ford 35 years ago, the hair products wholesaler grew from being run from a lock-up garage to achieving a £9.4m turnover, seven branches, 16 field sales consultants and 85 staff.
There are eight categories.
Enter at dailyecho.co.uk/scba or request an entry form by mailing South Coast Business Awards, Newspaper House, Test Lane, Redbridge, Southampton, SO16 9JX.
The Taylor Made Computer Solutions Award for Best Use of Technology – This recognises the effective use of technology that boosts firms’ competitive or operational improvement such as improved quality, customer satisfaction and revenue.
The Business Solent Champion of the Year Award – The winner will be able to show how they promoted the Solent region as a great place to work, invest, study and live.
The RSM Tenon Award for Customer Service – Recognises companies with a genuine and innovative focus on customer service and care.
The British American Tobacco Award for Commitment to Education and Training – Rewards organisations and companies that make a significant impact on the continuous training and education of individuals and groups.
The Trethowans Award for Excellence Through Innovation – Recognises a company with a creative and different way of working, not only to keep ahead of the competition but also to help them stay fresh and responsive to customer needs.
The Hampshire Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Award – For a dynamic company with less than 50 staff which demonstrates an all round excellence in business, with judges focusing on financial performance, future objectives and competitive advantages.
The Southampton City Council Award for the Southampton Young Entrepreneur of the Year – An award for an individual whom judges consider can best demonstrate exceptional vision and leadership in establishing and developing strong belief in one self.
The Smith and Williamson Growth Business of the Year Award – The accountancy and financial services group is looking to celebrate a business that shows sustainable and consistent growth during 2012.
The Trethowans Business of the Year – All shortlisted entries will be automatically considered for the award.