THE organisers of the Dorset Business Awards, in association with the Daily Echo and Dorset Echo have announced that a record number of companies have entered the 2013 Awards.

With more than 130 companies with BH or DT postcodes coming forward, entries stretch from as far as Ringwood to Bridport and from Portland to Gillingham – highlighting the prestige the Dorset Business Awards are held in.

With entries closing on Tuesday, September 10, individual panels of judges representing each award category have started the challenging process to identify Dorset’s best businesses.

Judges will need to whittle down the hundreds of entries to come up with shortlists for each of the 10 award categories.

They are now evaluating each category to shortlist 30 finalists, three for each award, from the submitted entries.

Final decisions on category winners will be made by each judge after all their investigations are complete.

Finalists will be announced by the end of October and all will be invited to a glittering Gala Dinner Awards ceremony at the Lighthouse, Poole, on Thursday, November 28, where the overall winners will be announced.

Peter Scott, chief executive of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is thrilled with the level of entries for 2013 and said: “It is fantastic to see a diverse number of entries from across all parts if Dorset.

“It just goes to show how important the Dorset Business Awards are to this region. Every year the Dorset Business Awards become more competitive and the standards increase considerably, making a Dorset Business Award an even more significant accolade to win.

“It is evident that many Dorset businesses are aiming high as the quality of the completed entry forms has been excellent.

“Entries to each award category are now being assessed against the criteria by a panel of judges.”

The awards are also backed by radio station Wave 105 and the website, .uk, is sponsored by RT Media.

To buy tickets for the Awards Gala Dinner contact Shirley Ewart on 01202 714812.

Tickets cost £85+VAT each or £800 + VAT for a table of 10 for Dorset Chamber members, while they are £95+VAT each or £900 + VAT for a table of 10 for non-members.