THIRTY finalists in the Dorset Business Awards gathered for a reception at Poole’s historic Guildhall ahead of the gala ceremony next week.

Awards organiser Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) held a Meet the Finalists event at which sponsors raised a glass to the finalists.

The awards are in association with the Daily Echo and the Dorset Echo and backed by Wave 105.

Finalists include businesses in the retail, hospitality, techn-ology, telecommunications and manufacturing sectors.

Ian Girling, chief executive of DCCI, told the gathering: “I joined Dorset chamber a year ago and already Dorset Chamber was very well known for running business awards. It’s always been something Dorset has is very proud of.

“This is our 20th and it’s the biggest yet. We’ve had a record number of entries, over 150, and we’ve sold 655 seats for the gala dinner.”

He added: “We’ve come through a really difficult couple of years business-wise.

“We’re not completely there yet but I think we’re on the right path.”

The awards, compered by Holby City and Harry Potter actor Guy Henry, will be held at the BIC on Thursday, November 27.

The finalists are as follows:

  • Business Engagement with the Community Award, sponsored by J.P. Morgan: Coleman Insurance Brokers, in Poole; Coles Miller Solicitors LLP, in Poole; Freshleaf Media Limited, in Wimborne.
  • Business Growth Award, which is sponsored by Advanced Exchequer: IADigital Ltd, Bournemouth; Koh Thai Tapas, Poole; The Training Room, Poole.
  • Dorset Export Award, sponsored by ATLAS ELEKTRONIK UK: Kite Clothing Limited (Kite), Poole; Micro Nav Limited, Bourne-mouth; Think Research Ltd, Poole.
  • Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by Bourne-mouth University; Diamond Sporting Group, Poole – Sophie Christy, Managing Director and the Executive Team; Eco Sustainable Solutions Ltd, Christchurch – Trelawney Dampney: Intergage, Poole – Paul Tansey;
  • Excellence in Innovation Award, Co-sponsored by Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Liz Lean PR; Permavent Ltd, Weymouth; The TwinsFX, Poole; Wessex Internet, Blandford
  • Hays Employee of the Year Award: Borough of Poole, Poole – Jeanette Yorke; C4L, Poole – Richard Halsey; Menzies East Cliff Court Hotel, Bournemouth – Paul Clarke.
  • Lester Aldridge and Santander Company of the Year Award: Colten Care, Ringwood; Dextra Group Plc, Gillingham; The Koh Group, Poole;
  • Nuffield Health Excellence in Customer Service Award: Health-on-Line, Bournemouth; KingsWood Day Nursery, Alderholt; Poole Housing Partnership, Poole.
  • Princecroft Willis Family Business Award: Allum & Sidaway, Dorchester; Crest Pumps Limited, New Milton; RJ Balson & Son, Bridport.
  • Retail Experience Award, sponsored by the Dolphin Shopping Centre: Allum & Sidaway, Dorchester; Animal, Poole; River Island, Poole.