Respected members of the business community gathered alongside representatives of the borough council to mark the launch of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Business Awards.
The new awards, run by the Times and So magazine parent company One Media, seek to promote a diverse range of companies within the borough, many of which may otherwise go unnoticed.
With the first ceremony due to be held in May next year at Salomons Estate, hosted by Edwina Currie, last Wednesday marked the official opening of the competition.
Speaking at the launch, at The Hide Out restaurant, One Media editorial director Richard Moore said:
“This marks a new chapter in the development of the Times of Tunbridge Wells.
“When we launched the paper in March this year we did so with the aim of producing a product which appealed to the local business community.
“Since then, we have written more than 600 stories relating to local businesses, 99 per cent of which have been positive in nature.
“But we believe we can go further. Simply writing about local companies is no longer enough if we wish to cement our reputation as this town’s pre-eminent newspaper for business.”
He added the awards were a demonstration of the newspaper’s commitment to those who help make Tunbridge Wells a place of enterprise and entrepreneurship.
Mr Moore said the range of 11 categories for which companies can be nominated was needed to accurately reflect the town’s ‘dynamism’, adding: “There are many businesses in Tunbridge Wells, both big and small, which go little noticed by the wider public, but contribute so much to what makes this town special. We believe they deserve recognition.”
The categories include new business of the year, entrepreneur of the year and the service excellence award for ‘outstanding assistance and advice’.
There is also the Times of Tunbridge Wells readers’ choice award, inviting readers of the Times to nominate a local business or business person who they believe offers consistently good service.
Attending the event in her capacity as portfolio holder for economic development, councillor Jane March said: “People have the impression of Tunbridge Wells as being a place dominated by just a few types of business.
“But the number of categories at this awards ceremony truly reflects how diverse our business community is.
“We should all be supporting those who run these companies. It is about service to the community and that is what Tunbridge Wells is all about.”
Awards judge Darren Austin, whose business Synergee is a well-known accountancy firm in Tunbridge Wells, said: “Something like this is a fantastic way to recognise the good work done by thousands of businesses in the borough in their respective industries.
“I was delighted to be selected as a judge for these awards, especially when I look at the calibre of the other judges.”
To submit an entry for the awards, and for more information, visit our website www.tunbridgewellsbusinessawards.co.uk