JUDGES for this year’s Winchester Business Excellence Awards met to shortlist entries from across the district.

Chairman Kit Finney and the panel meticulously trawled through each and every applicant for the awards, founded by the Hampshire Chronicle, Winchester Business Improvement District (BID), and the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.

Now in its twelfth year, the competition aims to recognise the achievements of local businesses.

Entrants were marked in accordance with each category’s criteria with many noted for their entrepreneurial and innovative manner.

Some companies were congratulated for their willingness to take risks and judges commented on the diversity of this year’s contestants.

Mr Finney said: “Having gone through all the applicants in detail, I am amazed at just how many inspiring and entrepreneurial companies Hampshire has. It is clear by the companies that have entered that they have drive and passion for what they manufacture or the service they provide. It truly is incredible.

“This year it is very difficult even in the first stage of eliminations to reduce the numbers down to the shortlisted four that is required. This is simply because the standards are so high. The judges have had a difficult job.”

The first shortlisted entries will be announced next week.