We’re banging the drum again for the best in business.
What a year this is for Wearside and County Durham’s companies with the world’s attention on us.
There’s the Tall Ships Races and the 30th International Airshow which both pulled in huge numbers of people to the area.
Amid it all are the elite of enterprise who are continuing to do excellent work and we want to honour them.
Yes, the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards are back!
And once again, we want to hear from the people who make the area tick on the business front. But we can only do that if we receive your nominations.
Individuals, businesses themselves - in fact anyone can put forward a nomination for this year’s awards for a company that they feel is deserving of recognition.
Whoever wins will be following in the footsteps of Ashford Orthodontics who won both the Overall Business of the Year, and Medium Business of the Year titles.
Judges heard how it was a dynamic and progressive specialised orthodontic laboratory, then in its 17th year of continuous growth.
It had become the largest and one of the most respected orthodontic laboratories in the UK, moving to a new 12,000 sq ft state-of-the-art facility in 2016 and employing 35 staff in the process.
Now comes your chance to follow in their footsteps.
There are plenty of well known categories from previous years such as small, medium and large business of the year, as well as exporter of the year.
Or you might want to enter sections such as apprentice of the year, technology of the year or best green business.
Whatever your choice, make sure you get those entries in so that we can honour the very best that Wearside has to offer.
Yet again, we have fantastic backers on board to help make the awards a success.
Make it Sunderland is again our headline sponsor, and will sponsor our overall Business of the Year Award, as well as a Lifetime Achievement award, which is in the sponsor’s gift.
Make It Sunderland is also backing the contribution social enterprises make to the city in the Social Enterprise Award.
Other sponsors are Northumbrian Water, Gentoo, Stagecoach in Sunderland, The Bid, ResQ, BIC, Maxim Brewery, Sunderland College, Bradley Hall, and PG Legal Commercial Solicitors.
City council leader Coun Graeme Miller urged people to nominate companies in the area. He said: “It’s important for successful businesses to tell the region and the business world about their route to positive results. It boosts employees’ morale, and shapes UK and businesses’ perceptions of the fantastic quality and innovation of regional companies.”
Gavin Foster, managing editor of the Sunderland Echo, said: “The world’s attention has been on Sunderland this year and the city has risen to the occasion.
“This is a fantastic time to be associated with the area. Businesses in the city have been at the heart of much of this success. So we want to celebrate this success with the Portfolio Awards.
“There is so much to be proud of. So tell us about your success and we can celebrate together.”
There’s plenty of time to enter before the closing date for nominations. Then, the judges face the unenviable task of trying to whittle down the field into a shortlist.
All of the chosen finalists will get to attend the grand finale. We will reveal the winners at a glittering evening of celebration at the Stadium of Light on November 1.
So come on, let’s get the process rolling by finding those businesses worthy of consideration.
•Get nominating and let’s make this a year of celebration of the best in Wearside business.
To nominate, post your nominations to Lynn Wild, Sunderland Echo, Alexander House, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le- Spring, Sunderland. DH4 5RA.
Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.