Wiltshire Business Awards 2019 hopefuls had the chance to meet sponsors and judges at a special reception on Tuesday night.

The awards, developed by Newsquest Wiltshire and are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year.

They aim to showcase the high standard of businesses in the county while also recognising entrepreneurial spirit and the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Judging begins on March 11 and the winners will be announced at Center Parcs on May 10.

Kate Westbrook from Thrings - one of the UK’s leading legal firms - will be judging the Business of the Year Award.

“We’ve got some very strong entrants, particularly in technology field,” said Kate. “I’ve seen some great businesses based in Swindon and wider Wiltshire market.

“I think the awards are important as businesses get together and recognise the strength of industry we have in Swindon and Wiltshire, but also for the businesses themselves it’s a really good opportunity to get their teams together, to say thank you to them and recognise what they’ve achieved.

“We can’t all be a big national successful business. SMEs provide so much employment and add loads to our economy, they need to be recognised as well as the big names.”

There are ten different categories and each one is judged by a separate sponsor, including NatWest, BBC Wiltshire and C3 Marketing.

Howard Goff, who runs circuit board company NCAB, said: “We’ve known about the awards for a long time and thought this was good year to take part now we’re in a really stable environment to participate.

“We’re really looking forward to taking part and it’s a great opportunity for us to look at our business and take away some of the advice and recommendations of the judges about how we can improve.”

Pete Gavan, editor of the Swindon Advertiser and its sister titles the Gazette and Herald and the Wiltshire Times, said: “Our meet the judges event was a huge success and it was great to hear about the brilliant work being done by businesses across Wiltshire.”