The shortlist for the in-Cumbria Business Awards 2018 has been revealed, ending a nail-biting wait for entrants dreaming of glory.

Businesses and business people from all four corners of the county threw their hat into the ring for the prestigious awards which celebrate the very best of business in Cumbria.

Around 200 business of all sizes and from a wide spectrum of industry sectors entered.

The in-Cumbria team had the tough task of examining all of the entries before deciding the shortlist for 15 categories.

A top panel of distinguished business leaders will hit the road during August and September with the equally difficult talk of deciding the winner.

The Lifetime Contribution to Cumbria award will be decided by in-Cumbria editor Luke Dicicco and a representative from event partners Sellafield Limited.

The winner will be revealed on the awards celebration night, which take place at The Halston, Carlisle, on Thursday, November 15.

Mr Dicicco praised the quality of entries.

He said: “We have been bowled over by the response from businesses to this year’s in-Cumbria Business Awards.

“It is clear from the effort put in and high quality of applications that business people really value the prestige attached to the awards.

“Shortlisting was both inspiring and really tough. It was abundantly clear that the county’s businesses are in great health and going fantastic things, whether that is in their day-to-day operations, a creative marketing strategy or the work they are doing to support their local community.

“A number of categories received a huge response, and in the vast majority of cases, we had entries that missed the shortlist by a whisker.

"We set the bar extremely high, and in the case of two categories only picked the very best of the bunch.

“We’re now starting what promised to be a challenging but fun period of judging. I can’t say I envy our expert panel of judges as they begin their travels around the county, but I know we’re in extremely safe hands given their huge experience in business.”

"Without wanting to wish the summer away, I can’t wait until the awards night in November where we will find out who the winners are."

The awards will be hosted by BBC presenter Jeremy Vine.

He said: “I’m really excited to be coming to Cumbria to host the in-Cumbria Business Awards and celebrating the achievements of businesses.

“These are interesting times for businesses with both economic and political challenges, but there are many examples of businesses thriving thanks to the drive and determination of the people behind them.

“I’m looking forward to learning more about the fantastic businesses you have in Cumbria and recognising the successes of the people behind them.

Best Apprentice/Trainee

Rebecca Mooney, Carlisle Refrigeration/ Carlisle College

Thomas Armstrong, The Old Mill Inn/ HIT Training, Dearham

Abigail Graham, Armstrong Watson/ Carlisle College, Carlisle

Best Manufacturing Business

Technical Fibre Products, Burneside

Futamura Chemical UK Ltd, Wigton

Best Community Involvement

Kaefer Ltd, near Whitehaven

Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster

Sealy, Aspatria

Best Marketing Strategy

CHO Fashion & Lifestyle, Carlisle

H&H Insurance Brokers, Carlisle

Cumberland Building Society, Carlisle

Best Customer Service Excellence

Walby Farm Park, Crosby-on-Eden

Direct Rail Services Ltd, Carlisle

Cumberland Building Society, Carlisle

Best New Business

Caterprep, Penrith

i3 Decommissions Partners, contractors at Sellafield

Luxury Living Development, Carlisle

Best Exporter

Trade Copiers Limited, Penrith

Oxley Group, Ulverston

Best Professional Services Company

Prima Uno Limited, Cleator Moor

Cartmel Shepherd Solicitors, Carlisle

Armstrong Watson LLP, Carlisle

Best Family Business

K&S McKenzie, Carlisle

GM & SM Marrs, Wigton

J Edgar and Son, Workington and Rowrah

Best SME Business

Cumbria Crystal, Ulverston

Bender UK, Ulverston

One Little Bird Public Relations, Cockermouth

Best Innovation

Bender UK, Ulverston

Rovtech Solutions, Barrow

Technical Fibre Products, Burneside, near Kendal

Best Social Enterprise

Cumbria Health on Call, Carlisle

The Centre for Leadership Performance, Cockermouth

The Happy Mums Foundation CIC, Carlisle

Best Large Business

TSP Engineering Ltd, Workington

Caterite Food and Wineservice Ltd, Embleton

Cumberland Building Society, Carlisle

Best Tourism and Hospitality Business

Sally's Cottages, Keswick

Rothay Garden Hotel, Grasmere

Tullie House, Carlisle

Business Person of the Year

Barry Leahey MBE, Playdale Playgrounds, Haverthwaite

Nick Gutteridge, Burnetts

Debbie Francis, Direct Rail Services