‘They play a vital role in our economy’ – small businesses urged to enter Portfolio Awards

Paul McEldon, from the Business and Innovation Centre.
Paul McEldon, from the Business and Innovation Centre.

Smaller Wearside firms were today urged to enter the Portfolio Awards - because they play a vital role in Sunderland’s economy.

The message to SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) came from Paul McEldon, the chief executive of the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC).

We know there are many talented entrepreneurs running successful small businesses in Sunderland, and we encourage businesses to apply and to be nominated

Paul McEldon

He said the BIC was delighted to sponsor the Small Business Award as part of the Sunderland Echo’s Portfolio Awards 2017.

Small businesses are at the heart of the community in Sunderland, and there’s never been a better time to celebrate Sunderland’s entrepreneurs and home grown companies, according to Paul.

He added: “We have been providing support for small businesses and entrepreneurs for the last 23 years and without question, running your own business is no easy task and so businesses that thrive should be recognised and celebrated.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy as they drive growth, open new markets and create jobs; in turn, they make a major contribution towards the future prosperity of Sunderland.

“We know there are many talented entrepreneurs running successful small businesses in Sunderland, and we encourage businesses to apply and to be nominated.

“We also recognise that small businesses are so busy with their day job, and resources are stretched, that putting themselves forward for an award is not always top of their agenda, or sometimes not even on the agenda at all.

“However, entering awards is good for business. Being shortlisted or winning can provide businesses with improved brand awareness and great PR opportunities as well as motivating employees and attracting future talent. It can also act as a third party endorsement and a seal of approval for your business.

“In sponsoring the Echo Portfolio Small Business Award, the BIC urges small businesses in Sunderland to apply and showcase their success.

“We believe that small businesses are not only the lifeblood of our organisation, but the driving force for Sunderland’s economy and we look forward to celebrating their hard work and success.”

Now’s your chance to put yourself in the running for this year’s competition.

State which category your nomination applies to from the list below and describe the reasons for your nomination. Do it in no more than 300 words.

Also include the address of your chosen nomination and provide details on how we can contact the company – such as their email and a phone number.

Post your nomination to: Lynn Wild, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, DH4 5RA. Alternatively, you can email lynn.wild@jpress.co.uk.

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, TTR Barnes, BIC, Sunderland BID, The Bridges, Sunderland College, Wessington Dental, Gentoo, Station Taxis, Creo, The Fans Museum, Stagecoach North East and JB Skills Training.

The deadline for entries is Friday, September 8. After that, the judges draw up a shortlist. Then it is on to the grand final at the Stadium of Light, on Thursday, October 26.

There’s plenty of time for you to put forward your favourites – get nominating!

The categories:

Small Business of the Year

Best Green Business Award

Medium Business of the Year

Best Training Provider

Large Business of the Year

Exporter of the Year

Employer of the Year

Leisure Award

Apprentice/Trainee of the Year

City Centre Business of the Year

Technology of the Year

Creative Industries Award

New Business of the Year

Sole Trader Award

Special Community Award

Best Age Friendly Business

Social Enterprise Award

Corporate Social Responsibility Award