We are delighted to announce the launch of this year’s in-Cumbria Business Awards 2021!

After a difficult year it’s time to celebrate the successes, innovations and most all, the talented business people we have in this county.

Nobody would wish for another year like the one we’ve just endured, but there were some positives. Some companies found the lockdowns of 2020 led to some amazing new ideas and better ways of doing things; more time to focus on strategy and plan for the future. It’s those things we want to recognise and celebrate at our awards this year.

BBC Countryfile’s Helen Skelton will be the guest presenter at the awards which will be held at The Halston, Carlisle, on Thursday, November 25.

Helen is no stranger to the county or the country. Born in Carlisle, she was brought up on a dairy farm in the village of Kirkby Thore.

She attended its local Primary School, and then Appleby Grammar School before graduating from Cumbria Institute of the Arts, where she gained a BA degree in journalism.

She went on to work on BBC Cumbria before moving on to present Blue Peter , Countryfile and other high profile programmes.

She’s also a well-known charity fundraiser and famously kayaked the entire length of the Amazon River for Sport Relief in 2010, travelling over 2,000 miles in a solo kayak over six weeks.

She broke not just one, but two Guinness World Records along the way – the longest solo journey by kayak, and the longest distance in a kayak in 24 hours by a woman.

“I’m delighted to be involved with the in-Cumbria awards this year,” said Helen.

“I was born and bred in Cumbria and it’s always such a delight to return - particularly to celebrate the achievements of the people who live and work there.”

This year there are 11 categories in our awards – from the prestigious Lifetime Contribution and Businessperson of the Year to the Trainee of the Year.

You can make your nominations here.

The categories are:

The Robin Burgess Lifetime Contribution to Business in Cumbria, sponsored by BAE Systems

This prestigious award will go to someone who has had a significant and positive impact on the Cumbrian business community over a period of years.

Businessperson of the Year

This award is for a businessperson who has made an outstanding contribution to their company in the last year.

Apprentice/Trainee of the Year, sponsored by David Allen

This award recognises the apprentice or trainee who in the view of both the employer and the judges has demonstrated real dedication.

Best Large Business, sponsored by TSP Engineering

This award recognises a business with 51 employees

Best SME Business, sponsored by Lancaster University Management School

This award recognises a business with one to 50 employees

Best New Business, sponsored by Carr’s Engineering

The award is open to a successful company that has been in operation for less than three years.

Best Family Business, sponsored by Lamont Pridmore

The judges will be looking for a family-owned or family-managed business which has at least two members of a family involved in running it.

Best Professional Services Company

This will recognise a business that can demonstrate an outstanding level of professional service delivery.

Flying the Flag for Cumbria

Aimed at companies which have put Cumbria on the map with the products and services they offer.

Best Green / Ethical Business

This new award is aimed at companies that can demonstrate a successful commitment to managing their environmental obligations and take an ethical stance.

Best Marketeer

The judges will be looking for a successful marketing strategy undertaken in the last 12 months

Best Community Involvement, sponsored by The Cumberland

This award will go to a business that can show its proactive commitment to putting something back into their local community.

In-Cumbria associate editor Sue Riley said: “This year of all years we need to seize the moment and celebrate our county’s achievements.

“We’ve heard, and reported on, so many amazing business stories last year and it’s those we want to celebrate – from firms’ diversifying to inspirational leadership.

“Everyone during 2020 has had to look at how they work and do it differently. It’s that flexibility, resilience and innovation which has impressed us and are things we hope to find in the nominations this year. We look forward to receiving your nominations – help us make the awards the biggest and best in-Cumbria has ever held – get nominating!”

Simply click here and fill in the entry form. You can enter as many categories as you wish and it’s free to enter. The deadline for nominations is June 28 2021.

Good luck!