A FAMILIAR face will be returning to host the Somerset Business Awards this year – but at a new venue and with new categories, while the prestigious awards themselves have a completely new look, website and logo.

Organised by the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, the annual awards, which are free for all Somerset businesses to enter, were officially launched at a reception for past winners and awards sponsors at the Museum of Somerset, in Taunton, last Thursday.

Guests enjoyed a glass of bubbles and canapes as they learnt about a trio of new categories – Employer of the Year, Private and Public Collaboration and Outstanding Achievement – and were shown the new black and gold logo and completely redesigned website to mark the 15th anniversary of the awards.

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Businesses have until August 9 to enter the awards, which are again supported by main sponsor Albert Goodman Chartered Accountants. Somerset cricket all-rounder Peter Trego will host the glittering awards ceremony, which this year will take place at the Winter Gardens Pavilion, in Weston-super-Mare, on October 25.

And to give businesses and individuals the best possible chance of success, the Chamber will be holding a ‘how to enter’ workshop at the Holiday Inn, in Taunton, on July 4.

Stephen Henagulph, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said the awards were now in their 15th year and he thanked local businesses for their support through both sponsorship and by taking part in the awards.

He said: “The Somerset Business Awards celebrate everything that is great in the county and covers so many sectors across a wide range of categories.

“As we are a county organisation I am keen we move around the region and I’m aware the awards ceremony has been held in Taunton for the last couple of years, so this year we will be heading to the impressive Winter Gardens Pavilion, in Weston-super-Mare.

“I would encourage all local businesses to enter the awards to share their own success stories and celebrate their achievements.”

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Michael Cahill, of main sponsor Albert Goodman, said he was proud the company was continuing to support the awards and said this year would be the tenth year as main sponsor.

He said Albert Goodman wanted to celebrate all that was great about business in Somerset and the awards had become an important and popular fixture in the local calendar.

“I can assure everyone that the judging process is vigorous and independent and that there are many benefits from entering the awards,” Mr Cahill said.

This year there are 14 different award categories on offer and, once again, all applications must be made online through the Somerset Business Awards website.

Judging will take place at the beginning of September and all finalists will feature in individual films which are shown on the awards night to around 400 guests. Winners receive a certificate and handmade trophy.

More information about the awards is available on the website at www.somersetbusinessawards.org.uk, while updates are also posted on the official awards Twitter account @SomBizAwards.