Seven county businesses have today been announced as the finalists of his year's Hampshire Business Awards.

The judges of the prestigious awards, backed by the Daily Echo and sponsored by Bond Pearce, KPMG and The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), have now named the seven companies in the running for one of three titles.

The shortlist has been produced following the awards' rigorous judging process, which included a review of each entry form submitted, followed by a series of site visits and presentations. The final stage was a series of judging days where three panels of leading Hampshire business figures met to reach their conclusions.

Tony Cottam of KPMG said: "There is a great mix of companies in this year's finals, from owner-managed businesses though to public companies.

However, what unites them is that they are leading their fields and highlighting Hampshire's excellent business community."

Nick Page, of Bond Pearce, sponsor of the Innovation Award, adds: "It should be an exciting race to the finish. The finalists in the Bond Pearce Innovation Award are three brilliant examples of companies which are demonstrating continual innovation, which bodes well for the future health of business in the county."

Talking about the three companies in the running for the RBS International Trade Award, Mark Price said: "There's a diverse mix of finalists, from different locations and industry sectors, which all have in common their excellent contribution to Hampshire's international trade."

Each of the finalists will be profiled in greater depth in Business South in the weeks leading up to the finale of this year's search - an awards dinner on Thursday September 13. This year, the event will be held at Action Stations, the interactive visitor showcase for the modern Royal Navy in Portsmouth Dockyard.