WINCHESTER business owners, managers and employees gathered for the launch of this year's twelfth annual Winchester Business Awards.

Founded and organised by the Hampshire Chronicle and its joint partners Winchester Business Improvement District (BID) and Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, the awards aims to encourage networking and recognise local achievements throughout the district.

Around 80 people flocked to Winchester’s Holiday Inn using the chance to meet and greet the local competition and learn more about the prestigious awards.

Keith Redbourn, editor of the Hampshire Chronicle, said: "As we all know Winchester is a great place to do business and the Hampshire Chronicle decided to set up these awards to make sure business excellence was recognised and rewarded.

"We look forward to seeing you all at the Guildhall."

Chris Turner, executive director of Winchester BID, said: "On June 13 this year the guildhall will be packed with hopeful people coming forward to receive awards.

"We are very grateful to Denplan for stepping forward again this year as our main sponsor."

Stephen Gates, managing director of primary sponsors Denplan, said: “In terms of encouraging you if you’re on the verge and thinking about applying, do. It’s a real chance to showcase your business and know more about how you’re doing and I hope you all enjoy this evening.”

Rosalie Lamming and Karla Watkins, who work in the careers department at Southampton University, spent the evening talking to prospective employers for their graduates and to discuss potential mentoring schemes and internships for their students.

“I wanted to find out more about the awards and what sort of businesses it attracted and I’ve found it’s been an enlightening experience,” said Ms Lamming.

Ms Watkins said: “I came here last year so I was aware what the awards were about and I think it’s a great way to support Winchester.

“It’s good to find out what businesses are doing and you find out so much more by simply being here than if you were just looking them up on the internet, for example, because you can actually come to this event and talk to real people.”

Sharon Ellis, head of HR at Denplan, said: “Everyone gets so excited because it’s a really enjoyable event and you get to meet so many people from other similar businesses. There’s something really special about the guildhall, it’s very atmospheric, and everyone’s looking forward to the summer event.”

This year sees nine categories which businesses can put themselves forward for:

The Denplan Business of the Year Award

Winchester City Council Carbon Smart Award

University of Winchester Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Winchester BID Commitment to the City Award

The Breeze Service Excellence Award

The Hotel Du Vin Best Winchester Food Experience Award

1-1 Recruitment Small Business of the Year Award

The Business Collective Corporate Social Responsibility Award

The Wilkins Kennedy Large Business of the Year Award.

For more information or to submit an application visit