The founders of Hawkshead Relish have been shortlisted for a regional award.

Maria and Mark Whitehead have been shortlisted in the Food and Drink category for the North West in the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

This year, the North West has 93 finalists, each vying to win their category and be crowned Great British Entrepreneur of the Year for the North West.

Winners will be announced in Manchester in October.

Mark and Maria said: “What a rollercoaster year our 20th year in business has been!

“From welcoming The Prince of Wales to our head office at Esthwaite and embarking on the creation of a special celebratory store cupboard essentials cookery book, set to launch in September.”

“Entrepreneurship is at the heart of all we do, but who would have thought a business started in a small café in Hawkshead in 1999 would make such and incredible journey?

“It goes to show what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. We started making for our café all those years ago, now we have over 100 products in our range, sell to 500 specialist retailers, employ 28 local people, export to 12 countries worldwide and white label for some very high-profile clients.

“It’s all quite incredible and we would encourage anyone who has a business idea to explore the possibilities.’’

Francesca James, founder of the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, said: “Looking at the shortlists, I can safely say this is our strongest year yet.

“We have such a diverse range of businesses in terms of size and industry, and the calibre really is quite incredible. I wish each and every single finalist the very best of luck and look forward to welcoming them to the regional finals.”