2:17pm Monday 4th February 2013
By Julie Armstrong
Chippenham businesses are to battle it out to be crowned Business of the Year in a new awards ceremony.
Anyone can put forward one of the town's 500 businesses to win and nominations are being accepted now.
Winners will be announced at what organisers Cherish Chippenham say will be a spectacular red carpet event - with fine dining, fire jugglers and a casino.
Cherish Chippenham chairman Melody Thompson said: “It’s about changing people’s negative perception of the town. We want to highlight the number of really good businesses we do have here.
“We have tried to be as inclusive as possible with 16 categories and hope to have a winner for each.”
These include start up, small, independent, environmental, creative and innovative business of the year, plus young entrepreneur, young apprentice and customer service award.
Those nominating will be asked to say why the business deserves to win and what they have achieved in the past year. People can nominate their own business.
They are encouraged to impress the judges with marketing material, accounts or press cuttings.
Judges will be Rob Perks, chairman of Chippenham Chamber of Commerce and owner of the Dutch Cottage Tearooms; Tom Jacques, chairman of Chippenham Vision and owner of Jacques Partnership Architects; and Barry Vincent, commercial bank account manager at Lloyds TSB and owner of Business Advice North Wiltshire.
The judges will also choose who is to receive a special lifetime achievement award.
It is believed the oldest business in town may be John Iles & Son in The Causeway, which opened 130 years ago.
Mrs Thompson said: “It’s about time we did something for the businesses that have been here for such a long time.”
Winners will be announced at a black tie gala dinner at the Neeld Hall on March 1. The three finalists will get to make nomination videos at a cost of up to £1,000 each.
Tickets for the dinner are £45 and entertainment will be provided by Chippenham funk rock band Bad Lizard. Nomination forms are available at www.chippenhambusinessawards.co.uk and must be received by 5pm on February 15.
They can be sent via the website or handed to Ben Gregory at Digiprint. Digiprint and 24-7 Staffing are sponsoring the awards.
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