IF you have started a business in recent times, you have probably been through more challenges than you could have imagined.

So the prize for Best New Business at this year’s South Coast Business Awards will have special significance this year.

The award recognises a business started within the past two years, whose success has set the groundwork for growth.

If you know a business like that – or if you run one yourself – you can nominate it.

Judges will be looking for a clearly conveyed business idea and specific achievements.

The South Coast Business Awards celebrate business excellence among all the sectors that make up the Hampshire and Isle of Wight economy.

Companies can submit their own nominations or be nominated by others.

The awards’ principal sponsor, law firm Dutton Gregory, invites any company whose head office is in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to enter or to be nominated.

Nominations will be considered by our judging panel and entrants may be subject to a “mystery shopper” visit by the category sponsor. Businesses should be able to demonstrate positive change in the past 12 months, or have identified a strategy for change in the next year.

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 dailyecho.co.uk. 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. This overall winner will be chosen by the judging panel from all the category winners.

The other categories are:

  • Innovation Excellence Award
  • Business Leader Award
  • Employer Award
  • Entrepreneur Award
  • Small 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.