THE finalists in the Daily Echo-backed 2013 Dorset Business Awards have been chosen.

Judging panels for each category spent hours working through 134 entries to produce the shortlist.

Organised by Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and also backed by Wave 105, this year’s awards attracted entries from a wide range of organisations.

There are finalists stretching from Gillingham to Weymouth and Ringwood to Bridport.

The names of the winners will remain a closely guarded secret until the glittering gala dinner at the Lighthouse in Poole on Thursday, November 28, hosted by BBC South Today newsreader Laura Trant.

Peter Scott, chief executive of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “This year’s awards have drawn an unprecedented number of entries and we are amazed by the exceptional level of growth, success and entrepreneurship.

“Sponsors of the Dorset Business Awards would like to thank all the businesses that took the time and effort to enter this year and wish all the finalists the very best of luck.”

All finalists have been invited to an exclusive drinks reception at the Ferndown Golf Club on Monday, November 18.

Finalists invited to exclusive reception

Apprenticeship Training Award sponsored by Superior:

  • Aish Technologies, Bournemouth
  • Bias Technology Support Limited, Poole
  • Kingston Maurward College (Hospitality Department), Dorchester

    Business Engagement with the Community Award, sponsored by JP Morgan:
  • Blondz Hair, Weymouth
  • Motcombe Community Shop Ltd, Shaftesbury
  • Winning Smiles, Gillingham

    Business Woman of the Year Award, sponsored by Barclays:
  • Doris & Daisy (Maria Leese), Wimborne
  • Folk (Jo Cruickshanks), Poole
  • LoveLove Films (Georgina Hurcombe) Bournemouth

Dorset Tourism Award, co-sponsored by Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Liz Lean PR:

  • Highlands End Holiday Park, Bridport
  • The Green House Hotel, Bournemouth
  • The Grove Hotel, Bournemouth

    Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by Bournemouth University:
  • Beales Gourmet Ltd (Tony Beales), Poole
  • C4L (Matt Hawkins), Poole
  • Ratio Marc Biles), Bournemouth Hays

    Employee of the Year Award:
  • BOFA International Ltd (Shelagh Clyde), Poole
  • Christchurch & East Dorset Council (David Hopkins), Christchurch
  • Lewis Manning Hospice (Maria Tidy), Poole

KPMG & Lester Aldridge Company of the Year Award:

  • Atlas Elektronik, Winfrith Newburgh
  • Churchill Retirement Living, Ringwood
  • Health-On-Line, Bournemouth Nuffield Health

    Excellence in Customer Service Award:
  • Nicholas O’Hara Funeral Directors Ltd, Wimborne
  • Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC), Poole
  • The Green House Hotel, Bournemouth

Princecroft WillisFamily Business Award:

  • DJ Property, Weymouth
  • D Stewart & Son Ltd – "Stewarts", Christchurch
  • RJ Balson & Son, Bridport

    Retail Excellence Award, sponsored by the Dolphin Shopping Centre:
  • Animal, Poole
  • Fab Frocks of Westbourne
  • The Body Shop, Poole