The Federation of Small Businesses has launched its search to find the best small businesses from across the UK.
The 2019 FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards recognise small firms of all types, from innovators to family firms. The award categories are:
- International Business of the Year;
- Ethical and Green Business of the Year;
- Business and Product Innovation Award;
- Digital Innovation of the Year;
- Micro Business of the Year;
- Start-Up Business of the Year;
- Scale-Up Business of the Year;
- Family Business of the Year;
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year (aged 30 and under);
- Employer of the Year;
- Community Award (area level only).
Area finals will take place between January and April 2019 across the UK, with the UK national final taking place on 23 May 2019 at Evolution Battersea, London. Here, ten UK category award winners will be announced from which the FSB Small Business of the Year 2019 will be chosen.
The 12 UK area finals will be held in: Scotland; Wales; Northern Ireland; East Midlands; West Midlands; North East England; Yorkshire & The Humber; South West England; South East England; East of England; North West England; and London.
As the number of self-employed people continues to rise, entries are expected to exceed 2,000.
"The FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards recognise the best, most innovative and most determined of these, from every sector, industry and background," said Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman.
"This is why we choose to keep entries to the awards free and have them open to all smaller businesses and self-employed people, whether they are current FSB members or not. The entrepreneurial spirit in the UK is alive and well, with small businesses now numbering an incredible 5.7 million. Everyone should help us to celebrate that."
Last year's winner was scale-up superfood brand Creative Nature. Julianne Ponan, founder and ceo of Creative Nature, said: "Winning the title of FSB Small Business of the Year 2018 has had a superb impact on us; we've been invited to open the market at London Stock Exchange, to speak at business shows and have had fantastic media coverage. I recommend entering the awards to all businesses. We're enjoying every moment of it!"