The annual quest to discover the county’s outstanding business performers begins this month with the eagerly-awaited launch of the 2016 Monmouthshire Business Awards (MBAs).  This year’s event – hosted by TV personality Hywel James – takes place on Thursday, 12th May at Usk’s Glen-yr-Afon Hotel.

Dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of the Welsh business community, the MBAs are supported by Monmouthshire County Council and celebrate local business excellence across all industries.  Unlike similar schemes, the MBAs are free to enter and are open to businesses of all sizes that demonstrate innovation, talent and enterprise.  Previous winners have included a mix of start-ups and sole traders, in addition to some of the county’s largest and most influential organisations.

The event, from 5pm to 7pm, is an opportunity for local businesses to network and to meet guests including senior members of Monmouthshire County Council, category sponsors and Welsh Government representatives.  Tickets to the launch are free but must be booked in advance by emailing info@monbizawards.co.uk

Awards founder Janet Harris urged local businesses – especially those new to the Awards – to claim their place at the launch event.

“The Monmouthshire Business Awards highlight the achievements of local businesses and give them the opportunity to demonstrate their successes,” she said.

“At least one category is applicable to every business in the county, and we hope that businesses large and small will take this chance to join us at the launch and enter this year’s Awards.”

Since their launch in 2012, the MBAs have attracted nearly 1,000 entries producing nearly 200 finalists and 50 winners.  More than 1,000 people, including a range of celebrities, have celebrated their achievements at the glittering awards ceremonies, which are fast becoming a highlight of Monmouthshire’s social calendar.

Last year’s dinner attracted 400 guests including Edwina Hart AM, Nick Ramsay AM, MP David Davies, High Sheriff of Gwent Andrew Tuggey and Peter Fox, Leader at Monmouthshire County Council with his deputy Bob Greenland and Chief Executive Paul Matthews.

This year’s Awards feature 13 categories: Company Demonstrating Sustained Growth; Excellence in Marketing; Innovation in Business; Young Entrepreneur; Socially Responsible Business; Hospitality, Travel and Tourism; Excellence in Technology Innovation; Excellence in E-commerce; Most Promising Start-Up; Community Life; Best Small Business; Apprentice of the Year and Company of the Year.

The MBAs are backed by title sponsor Monmouthshire County Council plus category sponsors including Hicks Logistics, Hello Starling, Welsh Government, Capital Law, Celtic Manor Resort, Monmouthshire Housing, Spectrum Internet, REID Lifting, Melin Homes, Y Prentis and Coleg Gwent.

Paul Matthews, Chief Executive of Monmouthshire County Council, said: “The Monmouthshire Business Awards represent an attractive opportunity for businesses in the county to showcase their success.  These awards are an invaluable chance for people to raise the profile of their organisation, to attract new customers, and to enhance their reputations.  They include the new Community Life award – sponsored by Monmouthshire County Council – which is open to everyone in the Monmouthshire business community and potential winners can be nominated by members of the public, businesses or colleagues to recognise an individual or group that has gone above and beyond to contribute towards their community.”

Businesses wishing to attend the MBA 2016 launch event should email info@monbizawards.co.uk.  For details about how to enter the 2016 Monmouthshire Business Awards visit www.monbizawards.co.uk