THE Echo-backed South Coast Business Awards are now officially open for entries.

The 2018 celebration of all that’s best in business in the area was launched by Laura Bielinski, sales director Hampshire Newsquest, and Simon Rhodes, partner with law firm Trethowans, the returning main sponsors, at the Solent University’s Spark Building this evening.

Laura said that businesses in the region faced a raft of challenges including skills shortages, office shortages, lack of infrastructure investment and post-Brexit uncertainty but despite this “...they are more driven and focused than ever before, they have been innovative and creative in ensuring that the south continues to prosper and their business continues to flourish. These are the business we want to be nominated for the awards”

Simon celebrated the fact that this was eighth year of the awards and that eight was an auspicious number in the Chinese culture, associated with success.

He said the south coast was too quiet about its successes. “these awards are about the strength of our businesses and telling their stories.”

Full details of the awards categories and how to enter are available at The closing date for entries is April 12 and the winners will be announced at the Hilton at Ageas Bowl on July 13. Watch out for regular updates in print and online starting with a full report and more pictures of the launch event in Friday’s Echo.