Businesses across Blackburn and Darwen are celebrating after being shortlisted as finalists in the inaugural Hive Blackburn and Darwen Business Awards.

Successful businesses have had their written entries validated and scored against strict criteria to be named one of four finalists in each category.

Finalists will now face an interview and presentation stage with judges made up of sponsors, business leaders and independent experts. The dedicated judging day will take place on April 15 at the Red Rose Suite at Blackburn Rovers Football Club.

Winners will be announced at the black-tie ceremony which takes place on April 30 at the magnificent Blackburn Cathedral. Khalid Saifullah, chairman of the Hive Network and Director of local manufacturing firm Star Tissue UK, comments:

“The response to the awards has been great and we’re looking forward to meeting the shortlisted businesses at the interview stage.

“The awards really highlight the fantastic businesses we have within the borough and we’re pleased they’ve taken this opportunity to shout about what they do and celebrate the extraordinary people working for them.”

The 12 awards include the Hive Chairman’s Award and the Arte et Labore Award as well as The Young Entrepreneur and The Bright Spark Award.

Other categories include: The Eureka Award, The Newcomer Award, The International Achievement Award, The High Growth Award, The Manufacturing Excellence Award, The Creative Agency Award, The Investing in the Future Award and The Enterprise in Education Award.

Headline sponsors of the Hive Blackburn and Darwen Business Awards are Blackburn College and Capita. The awards are also supported by Bowker Motor Group, Business and Enterprise Trust, East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, Forbes Solicitors, Heritage Envelopes, Napthens Solicitors, Pierce, Precision Polymer Engineering (PPE), Ronset and Taheedul Eudcation Trust. Media partners are The Bee FM, Square Cactus, Lancashire Business View and BBC Radio Lancashire.

Hive is a group of business leaders working together to inspire prosperity and is supported by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

The full shortlist of finalists can be seen at www.hivebusinessawards.co.uk. Tickets and tables for the event can also be booked through the website.