BUSINESSES keen to get the edge over would-be rivals have been given some top tips on how to submit a potentially winning entry in this year’s Somerset Business Awards.

Organised by the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, the awards celebrate the best of Somerset businesses and their achievements in 14 different categories across all industries and sectors.

Judges and previous winners were on-hand to share some invaluable advice on how to maximise the chances of submitting an award-winning entry at a lunchtime briefing held at the Holiday Inn, in Taunton, last Thursday (4 July).

Awards sponsors at the event included Jon Beake, of the Wessex Reserve Forces and Cadets Association and sponsor of the Private and Public Collaboration Award; Mike Cahill, of main sponsor Albert Goodman and sponsor of the Family Business Award and Lizzie Ginbey, of the Teapot Creative and sponsor of the New Business Award.

They advised would-be award winners to make full use of the 800 words allocated for each entry, submit testimonials to support their entries and to remain focused on the criteria for each award category.

For anyone who made it through to the next round and judges’ visits, businesses were advised to show-off their companies and introduce some staff to the judges. And if they didn’t win first time around, ask for feedback and try again next year.

Lorna Hammond (right), of Chard-based haulage company C&D South West, won the Albert Goodman Family Business Award last year and gave some great advice to those thinking of entering the awards.

She said: “As a family-owned and operated road transport distribution company since 1987, it was a very proud moment for our family to gain this accolade last year and a real morale booster for all the team.

“It was lovely to see previous entrants, winners and judges and discuss all aspects of the event while giving tips to the forum about what I feel helped C&D South West to win the award and the benefits we found from entering.”

Entry to the awards is free and all businesses across Somerset can apply, including non-Chamber members.

Loren Gray, Chamber Events Manager, said: “The briefing was a great opportunity for businesses to find out why they should enter and how to wow the judges and I’d like to thank everyone who came along and took part.

“This year is the 15th year of the Somerset Business Awards – we’ve got a new look and will be holding the grand final at the Winter Gardens Pavilion in Weston-super-Mare for the first time.

“I would encourage all businesses to have a go and enter the awards.”

All entries must be made online via the website before midday on 9 August.