FORMER winners, finalists and sponsors are set to gather at the Italian Villa in Poole on Wednesday, June 15, for a reception to mark the launch of the 2016 Dorset Business Awards, organised by Dorset Chamber and Commerce and Industry.

This year’s launch event, sponsored by Breeze Volkswagen, will celebrate the achievements of past winners and reveal this year’s award categories, as well as kick-start entries for the competition.

Businesses of every size from across the county, and from all industry sectors, will be encouraged to put themselves forward for one or more of the prestigious accolades via until Friday September 9.

Sponsors for the 2016 competition read like a who’s who of Dorset business and includes the Arts University Bournemouth, Bournemouth University, Dolphin Shopping Centre, Francis Clark, J.P. Morgan, Lester Aldridge, Liz Lean PR, Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital, Santander, TeamJobs, The Training Room, UK Health Insurance and VoIP Unlimited. The Daily Echo, Dorset Echo and Wave 105 remain on-board as media partners. RT Brand Communications will also continue as the Dorset Business Award marketing sponsor.

Ian Girling, chief executive of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “This awards programme is the region’s business recognition platform that elevates outstanding organisations above the rest. Since 1994, the awards have uncovered hundreds of examples of outstanding organisations, business leaders and entrepreneurs who have taken a unique approach to overcome major challenges and achieve success.”

He added: “Entering is an opportunity to send out a clear message of excellence and confidence – that your business is exceptional and continues to aim high. The 2016 launch event will provide potential entrants with the opportunity to meet sponsors to find out what they are looking for in this year’s entries and will be a good opportunity to network with the Dorset business community.”

The awards campaign will culminate in a prestigious gala dinner ceremony on Thursday, November 24, at the Bournemouth International Centre.

Companies interested in finding out more about the launch event or award categories should contact Stuart Dixon on 01202 714810.