LEADING lights in the business community are set to gather for the launch of the 2017 Dorset Business Awards.

The event, organised by Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), will take place on Thursday, July 6, at the Italian Villa at Poole’s Compton Acres.

The launch will also celebrate the successes of last year’s award winners, as well as introducing five new award categories.

The award categories will officially be announced and opened at the event, with businesses of every size and from all sectors encouraged to enter.

Entries can be submitted via dorsetbusinessawards.co.uk until Sunday, September 3.

Finalists will be invited to a gala dinner on Thursday, November 23, at the BIC. Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital will be the entertainment sponsor for the gala dinner and Brighter Productions is production sponsor for the third year running.

All category sponsors for the 2017 awards have been confirmed and include Beales Gourmet, Blue Sky Financial Planning, Dolphin Shopping Centre, Dorset LEP, Lester Aldridge, Liz Lean PR, PKF Francis Clark, Pure Networking, REID Steel, RT Brand Communications, Santander, Sunseeker International Ltd, TeamJobs, UK Health Insurance and UK Luxury Care. The Daily Echo, Dorset Echo and Wave 105 remain on-board as media partners.

Stuart Dixon, head of marketing and communications at DCCI and organiser of the awards, said: ‘‘We are thrilled to be kick-starting this year’s Dorset Business Awards at The Italian Villa with the addition of five new award categories for this year. The Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry prides itself on continuing to evolve the awards so that we are able to offer a breadth of award categories which corresponds to the trends of the industry.

‘‘Since the awards began 23 years ago, they have gained a reputation as being the most sought-after accolade in the business community. We therefore urge the region’s businesses to be involved in this year’s awards programme in order to celebrate the outstanding standard of business in Dorset.’’ Companies interested in finding out more about the launch event or being involved in the Dorset Business Awards should contact Stuart Dixon on 01202 714810.