The Times Business Awards 2018, announced this week, are set to be an even bigger and better event this year, with new categories alongside some old favourites.

There are ten options, ranging from Young Entrepreneur of the Year to the Service Excellence award and Employee of the Year, all celebrating the wealth of talent in our local area from established businesses to start-ups.

The guest speaker at the gala night in June at Salomons in Tunbridge Wells will be the political com-mentator, broadcaster and former Cabinet Minister, the Rt Hon Michael Portillo.

He filmed his first Great British Railroad Journeys for the BBC in 2009, and is known to millions of viewers for his eye-catching coloured blazers and trousers.

He follows in the footsteps of former MP and minister Edwina Currie and BBC Radio 2 DJ Ken Bruce, who have also presented the awards.

In 2016, the Times’ first Business Awards proved to be a considerable success, attracting more than 150 entries from some of the most innovative and successful companies, both big and small, recognised for their exceptional retail acumen and expertise.

The judging process culminated in a sold-out gala night at Salomons that saw the work of local entrepreneurs celebrated along with the achievements of businesses of every size.

In March 2016, Times Local Newspapers added the Times of Tonbridge to its publishing portfolio, and as a result even more businesses and enterprises were attracted to the awards in 2017.
Some 200 finalists and guests enjoyed a night of celebration at the 2017 gala awards ceremony, which was an ideal platform for networking and building new business partnerships.

Editorial Director Richard Moore said: “We are absolutely delighted with the support that these awards have rec-eived from the local business community, without whom such events would obviously not be possible.

“Both those who sponsor the evening and those who put themselves forward as entrants have helped create a gala night that is now acknowledged as one of the leading social and networking events of the year.

“This is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate all that’s good about the businesses in and around Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge. And there is a lot to celebrate.”