SMALL businesses are often described as the backbone of the economy – and the South Coast Business Awards has a trophy to recognise their contribution.

The Best Small Business award will go to a dynamic company with fewer than 25 employees and a turnover of less than £5million, which demonstrates all-round excellence in business.

Businesses must have been trading for at least 18 months.

If you know a business like that, you can nominate it.

The award category is sponsored by Hampshire Chamber. The judges are looking for commercial success, future objectives for the growth of the business, plus innovation and creativity.

Businesses should be able to demonstrate positive change in the last 12 months or, have identified a strategy for change in the next 12 months.

The South Coast Business Awards celebrate business excellence in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Companies can submit their own nominations or be nominated by others. The awards’ principal sponsor is law firm Dutton Gregory.

Nominations will be considered by our judging panel and entrants may be subject to a “mystery shopper” visit by the category sponsor.

The judges will be looking to announce the three finalists in each category in the Daily Echo.

All three category finalists, plus one guest each, will be invited to join their category sponsors at the awards ceremony at the home of the Saints, St Mary’s Stadium, where the winners will be announced.

The ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, November 12.

The winners of each category will receive £250 of advertising in the Daily Echo or on They will also be featured in the category winners’ coverage in the Daily Echo and online.

The awards ceremony will culminate in one organisation being named Business of the Year, chosen by the judging panel from all the category winners.

The other categories are:

  • Innovation Excellence Award
  • Business Leader Award
  • Employer Award
  • Entrepreneur Award
  • New Business Award
  • Business in the Community Award
  • Best Use Of Technology Award
  • Service Excellence Award

You can submit your entry online here.

The closing date is Monday, August 31.