COMPANIES that exemplify the family spirit of doing business are set to be acknowledged in the 20th annual Dorset Business Awards, in association with the Daily Echo and Dorset Echo. The Princecroft Willis Family Business Award will celebrate the contribution family businesses have made to the county’s economy, history and culture.

Entry is open to all family-run companies with a BH or DT postcode. After scooping this award in 2013, Martin Stewart, managing director of D Stewart & Son Limited (Stewarts) in Christchurch, is encouraging others to put themselves forward.

Established more than 270 years ago, Stewarts is a multi-site garden centre now in the hands of the eighth generation of the Stewart family. “We were immensely proud to win a Dorset Business Award,” said Martin Stewart.

“We would certainly advise all companies in the region to enter this year and benefit from an increased level of recognition amongst the local community.” He added: “There is a vast array of benefits to becoming a winner but two of the key advantages we found was the external recognition we achieved when shouting about our success to our customer database of 35,000 people as well as the sense of pride our staff had in knowing that they are working for an award-winning firm.

“I would recommend any Dorset business to enter the competition as there is every good chance of winning. Even if you don’t win the first time, it is a great experience and even being picked as a finalist is an achievement.”

Entrants should include: n Longevity n Number of generations the business has survived n Family involvement in the business in terms of numbers and generations n Involvement in the local community n Family succession plan n Financial performance in the last three years Nick Love, family business partner at Princecroft Willis, said: “If you are proud of your family business then you owe it to yourself, family and employees to put yourself forward for this award. The award ceremony is a celebration of all that is good about business in Dorset and this category is recognition of the important part family businesses play in the life of the Dorset business community.”

Entries can be submitted free at, or printed from the website and submitted on paper.

The closing date is September 12.

Entrants do not need to be a member of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

For further information about the awards, sponsorship or to reserve tickets for the gala dinner at the BIC on November 27, contact Shirley Ewart on 01202 714812.