IN early September the judges will gather in Carlisle to select their shortlist in each of the thirteen categories.

To make their jobs even trickier, the awards, in association with NRL, will be even bigger this year, with the introduction of the Best Green Business award and also the New Diversity and Inclusion Award.

This is in addition to 10 existing categories and the highly-prized Robin Burgess Lifetime Contribution to Cumbria award.

This year’s judges are:

  • Rebecca Graves, NRL
  • Carol O'Donoghue, Cartmell Shepherd
  • Rachael Bell, Rachael Bell Wealth Management
  • Caroline Barber, 32 West
  • Rachel Seal, David Allen
  • Graham Lamont, Lamont Pridmore
  • Kelly Ashbridge, The Cumberland
  • Phil Redfern, React Engineering
  • John Sidney, Uni of Cumbria
  • Ben Heslop, BIPC Programme Manager
  • Jayne Moorby, Oxley Developments

This year’s awards are being held at the Dalston Hall Hotel, near Carlisle, on Friday, November 29. As usual, the awards night will feature a special host (to be announced next month), in addition to entertainment, great food and drink and, of course, the all-important announcement of the winners.

“The in-Cumbria Business Awards are always the highlight of the year for the team at the magazine,” says associate editor Sue Riley.

“We couldn’t do it without our handpicked team of judges and all the sponsors and people behind the scenes who make it such a success year after year.

"This year I think the judging will be particularly challenging given the number of nominations in each category - the judges really have their work cut out when they meet on September 2.

"I can’t wait to find out which businesses and individuals they choose...”



NEW FOR 2024


We are looking for a business which can demonstrate a commitment towards diversity and inclusion, reflected in the company's values. So, who has impressed you with their strategies and policies, but also with their passion for fairness and determination to deliver equality everywhere? The business should foster an inclusive workplace culture where all employees feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute.

BUSINESSPERSON OF THE YEAR - Sponsored by Rachael Bell Wealth Management

This award is for a businessperson who has made an outstanding contribution to their company in the last year. You can put yourself forward or be nominated by another person. The judges will be looking for someone who has:

  • Demonstrated exceptional commitment
  • Shown inspirational leadership and vision
  • Had a significant impact on improving the performance of the business


This award will go to the apprentice or trainee who in the view of both the employer and the judges has demonstrated:

  • Real dedication to the apprentice or trainee programme
  • An enthusiastic attitude toward learning
  • A clear application of knowledge and skills learned

BEST LARGE BUSINESS - Sponsored by Cartmell Shepherd

This award will recognise a business with 51 employees or more that can demonstrate:

  • Strong leadership and vision
  • Sustained growth and sound financial performance
  • Innovation and differentiation within the business

BEST SME BUSINESS - Sponsored by The Cumberland

This award will recognise a business with one to 50 employees that can demonstrate:

  • Strong leadership and vision
  • Good sales growth and sound financial performance
  • A robust plan for sustained growth


The award is open to a successful company that has been in operation for less than three years. The judges will be interested to know:

  • The motivations for starting the business
  • How it has developed and what has been achieved so far
  • The vision for the future and how aims to accomplish it

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, and which can clearly demonstrate how it has achieved success. Entries must demonstrate:

  • How the family business ethos runs through the company
  • What success has been enjoyed – such as financial performance, order book, jobs, sustainability, longevity, positive impact on community and local economy – and how has it been achieved
  • How the values of a family business have underpinned that success
  • How the family business is building for the future


This award will recognise a business that can demonstrate an outstanding level of professional service delivery. The winner will be able to demonstrate:

  • Strong professional credentials, including high professional accreditation levels of senior managers
  • Successful promotion of brand identity and its impact on the company’s success
  • Professionalism in service-delivery

NEW FOR 2024


Judges are looking for businesses that demonstrate a strong commitment to reducing their environmental impact across all operations. Key considerations include efforts to reduce its carbon emissions and investments in renewable energy. Additionally, the company should prioritise sustainability and innovation, actively seeking ways to minimise its environmental footprint while fostering positive environmental change.

BEST COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT - Sponsored by React Engineering

This award will go to a business that can show its proactive commitment to putting something back into their local community. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the proportionate investment by the business in terms of time and effort, as opposed to pure cash contributions. Examples of activity could be:

  • Providing financial support to community projects
  • Giving practical assistance in terms of time or expertise
  • Allowing charities, schools or community organisations to benefit from the resources of the business

FLYING THE FLAG FOR CUMBRIA AWARD - Sponsored by The University of Cumbria

This award is open to Cumbrian-headquartered businesses that are well and truly putting the county on the map with the products and services they offer. The winner will be able to demonstrate:

  • How they have developed new or grown existing markets across the UK and/ or overseas
  • How this has translated into sales
  • Plans for further growth backed by evidence it can be sustained

BEST MARKETEER - Sponsored by 32West

The expert judge will be on the hunt for an unsung hero who has achieved exceptional results in raising brand awareness for their organisation and in the last 12 months has:

  • Shown how their understanding of marketing has helped identify a clear market opportunity to launch a new product or develop an existing one
  • Documented a creative marketing strategy to realise the market opportunity
  • Implemented an action plan to deliver the strategy with positive measurable results