APPLICATIONS for some of the region's most prestigious business awards are opening this week.

From January 24, businesses can apply for the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.

Applications open at 9am on the day and businesses of all size and sectors from across the two counties are encouraged to enter at least one of the 15 award categories.

This year's awards feature the opportunity to enter two new categories: Commitment to the Community and Excellence in Sustainability.

Entrants have until Friday, March 27 to get their applications in if they want to be considered for the awards.

The awards, sponsored this year by FOLK2FOLK, are one of the highlights of the business calendar and celebrate the excellence and achievement of the business community of the two counties.With around 680 attendees, the Awards are free to enter for Members and Non-members. This year, the awards ceremony will once again take place at the Worcester Arena on Thursday, July 2.

The winners of the H&W Chamber Business Awards will then go on to compete at the British Chamber’s of Commerce Regional Awards and if successful in that category, businesses will then be invited to the BCC’s National Chamber Business Awards gala event held in London. Last year saw accountancy firm and Chamber Members Bishop Fleming crowned as Business of the Year 2019.

Ian Smith, Bishop Fleming Chair, said at the time: “I am over the moon that we have been recognised as 2019 Business of the Year.

“To have so many quality finalists from Herefordshire and Worcestershire shows what amazing places our counties are for business and what a great Chamber we have supporting us.”

The Chamber will be holding an ‘Is your business ready to enter the Chamber Awards?’ event where Members and Non-members can get assistance in writing their awards entries, hearing from previous award-winning businesses, take away top tips from judges and understand the new online entry system. The event will be held at Worcestershire County Cricket Club on Thursday, January 23 from 8am until 9.30am.