THE Bolton Business Awards is the highlight of the business calendar, celebrating the fantastic achievements of companies of all sizes. This year it will be bigger and better than ever. IAN SAVAGE reports

TODAY sees the launch of The Bolton News Business Awards 2019.

We will be celebrating the best of local businesses at a prestigious ceremony at The University of Bolton Stadium on Thursday, September 26.

This year, the 14th of the awards, there are 15 categories, including Regeneration Project of the Year, Family Business of the Year, Not for Profit Organisation of the Year and a special Editor’s Award.

There are also awards recognising apprentices and young people, as well as business in the community.

Our sponsors, who will also help to judge the entries, include headline sponsor Bolton Council.

Chief executive of the local authority, Tony Oakman, said: “Business and entrepreneurs are fundamental building blocks that can make a real difference to people’s lives and the kind of society we aspire to live in.

“Recognising talent and achievement in any walk of life is important and the business world is no exception.”

Sponsoring individual categories again are Stateside Foods (Business of the Year), Market Place Bolton (Regeneration Project of the Year Award), MBDA (Manufacturer of the Year), and Farnell Jaguar (Customer Excellence).

Jon Lucas, managing director at Stateside Foods, said: “Stateside Foods has been proud to call Bolton its home for more than 25 years. Our fantastic team of more than 1,000 talented individuals live in areas in and surrounding Bolton.

“Bolton is known for its excellent community spirit. Its desire to come together to celebrate successes reflects our own values at Stateside Foods, where hard work and innovation are recognised and rewarded.

“We are proud to sponsor The Bolton News Business Awards again this year and look forward to meeting and celebrating the fantastic people who help to make Bolton the thriving success story it is.’

Nikki Wilson-Cook, centre manager at Market Place said: “Having undergone our own regenerative transformation in recent years, at Market Place we recognise the value of such investments on both the town’s infrastructure and the whole community.

“So we are thrilled to sponsor this year’s Regeneration Project of the Year Award’ t The Bolton News Business Awards.”

Ged O’Dwyer, manufacturing sector head – air defence missiles & weapon systems for MBDA (UK), said: “MBDA is a market-leader in weapon systems, providing our armed forces with cutting-edge defence capability.

“Our Bolton site has more than 500 employees and is our main UK manufacturing facility.

“MBDA has recently celebrated 80 years of manufacturing in the Bolton area and is now increasing operations by leasing another local site to expand the capacity of the MBDA Bolton facility.

“MBDA supports The Bolton News Business Awards because of its long manufacturing history in the area.

“Also as the awards promote the need to recognise and develop young people and promotes apprenticeships generally, which is a long term strategy for developing future engineers and manufacturing capability within MBDA.”

James Boyd, Head of Business at Farnell Jaguar, said: “The £10 million that our parent company, Vertu Motors, invested in the new dealership has certainly paid off and it is an integral part of the Bolton economy.

“The group demonstrated its confidence in the town with this investment, which led to the creation of 20 significant jobs. It has allowed us to recruit from a pool of local talent.

“We have bolstered our existing team with people across different departments in the business and we are very proud of that.”

The awards presentation will follow a three-course meal and there will be entertainment during the evening.

Karl Holbrook, editor of The Bolton News, said: “Our awards are recognised as one of the premier events in the business calendar. We want as many firms of all kinds, as well as individuals, to enter.

“I would like to thank all of our sponsors for supporting these awards ­— it is hugely appreciated.”

Entering the awards is easy ­— simply visit and click on ‘Business Awards 2019’ to see all 15 categories, their criteria and to complete the application form.

The deadline for entries is Friday, May 24, so don’t delay ­— make sure you complete an application as soon as possible.