Today is launch day for the 2015 Be Inspired Business Awards, which recognise the cream of Lancashire’s entrepeneurs. DAVID NOWELL reports.
The Lancashire-born boss of global mega-brand Saatchi and Saatchi has vowed to help one of the county’s biggest business awards winners grow their businesses.
Kevin Roberts, who this month took over as the creative agency’s global Executive Chairman, has said the Be Inspired Business Awards , the BIBAs, would continue to develop to support hundreds of firms across the county.
He recently took up a role as a life patron of the awards which will see him develop the BIBAs Academy, a programme of workshops and support offered to the 17 winners of its prizes handed out last September
The 2015 awards is now open for applications from today with 17 main prize categories along with the lifetime achievement award, Lancastrian of the Year, and the Most Inspiring Business of the Year prize.
Kevin Roberts said: “I think the BIBAS are the best thing that has happened to Lancashire business, to entrepreneurs and to local enterprise both big and small.
“I hope to add some advice, experience and tips to these entrepreneurs so they could grow their businesses even more quickly and more successfully.”
The former Lancaster Royal Grammar School pupil, who is also a creative advisor to Lancashire supermarket chain, Booths, hosted the 2014 BIBAs prize-giving ceremony at the iconic Blackpool Tower five months ago.
The 65-year-old described the event in front of a packed audience in the venue’s Tower Circus as “a dream come true.”
Kevin said: “As a kid, going to the Tower Circus was always the highlight of my holiday.
“So appearing there in what was, when I was a kid, the biggest gladiatorial amphitheatre I have ever seen, was a kid’s dream come true.”
The application window for this year’s awards opens today and runs until April 10 .
It will be followed by a first round of interviews in May which will select the finalists ahead of a second round of interviews which will see the awards’ judging panels visit firms across Lancashire to pick the winners.
The prize-giving ceremony will be another star-studded night at the Blackpool Tower taking place on September 11.
Last year, the BIBAs ceremony was held in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 1,100 people with after-show entertainment from the pop star Peter Andre.
Eric Wright, the founder of construction firm The Eric Wright Group, picked up the awards’ lifetime achievement prize, Lancastrian of the Year, with Bamber Bridge-based Chemical Innovations named as the Business of the Year.
Preston charity The Foxton Centre collected the Most Inspiring Business of the Year, a new category for 2014.
The awards also launched the BIBAs Foundation, supported by the Lancashire Community Foundation, which will manage a fund made up of donations from leading members of Lancashire’s business community which will be handed to local organisations and charities.
All profits from the 2014 awards have been ploughed back in to the charity having spent £155,000 with suppliers, including £140,000 with companies in Lancashire.
Go to www.thebibas.co.uk for full details of how to enter.
See the Lancashire Evening Post business supplement every Tuesday for regular updates .