The shortlist for the 27th annual Sussex Business Awards 2015 has been announced.

2015 marks a record year for entries. With hundreds of applicants whittled down to just forty six finalists, this year is set to be a hot contest to receive one or more of the prestigious fifteen trophies.

Three companies make the shortlist twice, approved including The Base Skatepark CIC, website The Grand Brighton and Stelfox.

To reach their crucial decision, the judges reviewed all the entries to come to a longlist of finalists. Candidates then go through a rigorous reviewing system, including phone, face to face and panel interviews, to determine who will be in the running for one of the most highly coveted awards in Sussex.

This year marks the first time that a ‘One to Watch’ accolade has been added to the shortlist. Announced on the night, the honour marks a company just outside the traditional three finalists and highlights those businesses to keep a close eye on for the year to come.

To further shake up the 27th Sussex Business Awards shortlist, for the first time ever, Sussex Businessperson of the Year finalists have been automatically selected from entrants to the Sussex Company of the Year and the Small Business of the Year Awards, as well as direct entries. Winners will then be decided after a series of face to face interviews in front of a panel of judges.

The judging process has been the most effective yet, with the panel thoroughly enjoying all the different twists to determine a list of high calibre, award winning business performers.

“The number and quality of the businesses entered demonstrates what a hot bed of talent Sussex really is,” says Martin Swann, Divisional Manager of Vantage Professional Risks.

“Being our first year as a sponsor of the Sussex Business Awards the first thing that impressed us was the superb organisation of this event. Secondly we were overwhelmed by the professionalism of the judging panel, the diligence shown by each individual judge involved is truly commendable.”

“We are honoured to have been involved to date and cannot wait for the main event and urge all to book their tickets for what promises to be a superb evening.”

Taking his place as chairman of the judges for a second year in a row was Mike Herd, executive director of the Sussex Innovation centre and a previous winner of the Sussex Businessperson of the year, who commented: “This year was a record year! With the amount of entries received, the judging process proved a difficult task.

“The exceptional quality of the entries really shined through, and I know a lot of worthy winners have been chosen.

“Congratulations to all the shortlist!”

This year’s ceremony will take place on Wednesday 03 December 2015 at The Grand, Brighton and will be presented by star of ITV’s The Chase, Paul Sinha.

The Awards sell out each year so make sure to book your tickets soon.

For the full list of finalists, please CLICK HERE.

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“Everyone in Sussex wants to win a prestigious SBA and I was lucky enough to win on the first time around. It’s allowed HARE to approach bigger clients with confidence knowing we’re award winners…”

Hare, Sussex Graduate of the Year

“We are incredibly proud to have won two awards at the prestigious Sussex Business Awards. These highly sought-after awards have been of great interest to our clients and I am proud of our team for their fantastic success…”

Haybury (formely Stelfox), International Business of the Year, Award for Best Employer

“Winning a SBA validates the fundamental reason why we came to be, to give Bognor Town a leisure facility which it could be proud of. It reinforces the culture within our passionate team to provide a wonderful place for young people to feel at home in an ever stressful and difficult world where youth provision is lacking…”

The Base Skatepark, The Award for Leisure & Tourism

“Sussex is home to a fantastic business community, so picking up a Sussex Business Award last year was a real honour. It recognises our hard work and determination, and raises awareness of what we’re trying to achieve as a company. Industry awards such as this also help no end in attracting investment to fund our ambitious plans for growth…”

Darren Fell, Crunch, Sussex Businessperson of the Year

“Winning the Professional Services award has been extremely rewarding for Yelo and helped to further raise our profile as one of the leading architecture practices in Sussex. It\'s great for our staff to receive recognition for their dedication and the quality service they provide to our clients, and the whole experience was topped by a fantastic awards evening…”

Yelo Architects, The Award for Professional Services