THEY are the categories hailing the Hampshire companies making waves around the world and demonstrating growth in the face of economic difficulties. Nominations are now open for the Best International Performance and the Growth Business of the Year Award at the hotly anticipated South Coast Business Awards. The best of the region’s businesses will gather for the premier black-tie awards ceremony at the Grand Harbour Hotel in Southampton on Friday, July 11. The annual event organised by the Daily Echo sponsored by law firm Trethowans, aims to champion business excellence while boosting competition and raising standards. It is being run in partnership with Business South and Destination Southampton. Last year hair products wholesaler Salon Supplies clinched the Growth Business of the Year Award.

The Hampshire County Council Growth Business of the Year Award

AS NEW sponsors for this award, the council’s Economic Development Office will recognise a flourishing firm demonstrating sustainable and consistent growth during 2013 against the backdrop of economic difficulties. Entrants will need to prove a boost in turnaround or earnings levels over the last two years and expect growth to continue for the future. Companies that have secured investment to fund expansion will also be considered. Companies must be established before 2011 and judges are looking for turnaround and profits which have grown year on year and examples of initiatives to drive growth.

Smith & Williamson Award for Best International Performance by a South Coast CompanyBOOSTING exports and expanding into new overseas markets are just some of the criteria judges will be looking at for the international performance award, which is new for 2014. Judges will be championing the business in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight which has best developed its international credentials in the last three years. They are anticipating applications from a wide variety of firms in the region. They will be looking for increasing exports, expansion of overseas operations, entrance into new markets, overseas manufacturing. Smith and Willamson partner Andrew Edmonds said: “We are hugely excited about the awards. “We’ve been involved for three years and have always received a fantastic quality of entries. “Export-led growth has been the buzz word during the recession and businesses who have done well in the south have had an international dimension to what they do. “It’s good that this can be respected.”