A record number of family businesses have submitted applications for the second Cumbria Family Business Awards. Over one hundred were submitted as applications closed yesterday (Monday 22nd.)
Co event creator and organiser Janett Walker of Flock explained “What’s taken us back this year isn’t just the amount of applications but more specifically the geographical spread. Applications have come from the North, South, East and West of the county and it was immediately apparent that the application standard this year is even higher than 2017. The team and I had a busy time yesterday, but it’s one of the highlights of the process, the stress and last minute applications arriving all adds to excitement. None of us (myself, Sophia and Sue) envy the judges one bit, the family businesses of Cumbria have excelled themselves this year!”
The applications are currently being assessed by the judges prior to the first Judging Day on Thursday 25th. At this time, category finalists will be selected and invited to meet the judges in early February before winners are decided.
Judge Paul Dickson of Armstrong Watson said “At first glance, the benchmark for applications looks extremely high which is testament to the quality of family businesses in the county. I’m full of respect for all those who have applied. We’ve worked with family businesses sometimes for generations so appreciate their highs and lows and it will be an honour to learn more family business stories during the process.”
There are seven judges in total comprising of; Paul Dickson of Armstrong Watson, Grahame Latus of Enterprise Answers, Graham Lamont of family-run Lamont Pridmore, Maria Whitehead OBE of family business Hawkshead Relish, Jacqui Jackson of family owned Thomas Jardine & Co, Paul Andrews of Family Business United and Zoe Dawes The Quirky Traveller. All were picked the Cumbria Family Business Awards team for their varied backgrounds and expertise.
Judge Graham Lamont said ““As a family run firm ourselves, we know and understand the everyday, but often unique, challenges that family businesses face. Working with family members can also bring great rewards, however. Judging these awards is a real privilege, the standard and reach this year looks astonishing. I’m particularly looking forward to the live interviews where we get the chance to really get to know the people behind the application form and I hope we’ll see some successful new family businesses competing alongside Cumbria’s more established organisations.”
Grahame Latus of Enterprise Answers is also hosting the judging day said “It’s so important that each applicant is given equal consideration and know doubt we will all really feel the weight of responsibility when selecting the finalists. There will be some difficult decisions, with more ahead! The judging process is always interesting and enjoyable and I look forward to meeting the finalists in person and then of course the big night itself!”
Finalists will be announced at the end of this week and winners announced at the celebrity hosted Awards ceremony on Friday 9th March.