ONE of two new categories at this year's Echo-backed South Coast Business Awards is Scale Up Business of the Year.

It is sponsored by accountants Smith & Williamson, who have supported the awards since their inception, and have previously sponsored Growth Business of the Year.

"We have really enjoyed being involved with the South Coast Business Awards for the last eight years. We are impressed with the growth of businesses on the South Coast and proud to stand beside them. We advise many businesses helping and supporting them to overcome the challenges of scaling up. We are proud to sponsor the Scale Up Business of the Year Award this year," said Paul Duckworth, a business tax partner with the firm.

"In essence scale is taking what you are doing but expanding it to generate more revenue, so for example if you just sell locally, turning your business national. Not necessarily new products although that can help but scaling the business upwards to achieve greater results.

"In the current environment, we would expect to draw up our shortlist from those businesses that have demonstrated growth in any area of their business, be it staffing, locations, profits or turnover. Inevitably such initiatives will be backed by strong management, a collaborative culture, innovation and some good looking financials."

Smith & Williamson’s South Coast office provides a full range of accountancy and tax services with a flexible approach that allows us to accommodate both individual requirements and the needs of the business. The firm, the eighth largest in the UK is also a member of Nexia International, a leading global network of independent accountancy firms operating in 110 countries.

The South Coast office, at Cumberland Place Southampton , provides audit and accounting, business and personal tax advice and compliance, corporate finance, and restructuring and recovery services to local growing businesses. Clients range from corporates, individuals and professional practices to non-profit organisations.

Entrants for this award entrants must have scaled their business over the last three years in any of the following; sales, headcount, profitability, market share or geographical expansion. The business must have a minimum of 10 employees or a turnover of at least £8m in the last financial year.

Last year's Growth Business Award winner was Utilita, based in Eastleigh, one of the UK’s fastest-growing independent energy supplier. The firm has been at the forefront of the smart meter rollout since its formation in 2003. It was the first supplier to challenge the Big Six in the domestic energy market and now has more than 500,000 customers.

Utilita now has more than 1,000 staff working in 11 locations across the country. As part of its expansion, the company has launched a Commercial Energy arm serving SMEs.

The closing date for entries to the awards is April 12

Once again the awards are run in conjunction with main sponsors Trethowans Solicitors and partners Destination Southampton, Santander and Business South.

The awards evening will take place at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl on Friday, July 13 when we will be revealing the winners and celebrating their successes in style. It will be a black tie event and a night to remember.

Tickets are priced £70+vat per person or £650+vat for a table of 10. The price includes drinks reception, three course banquet with wine plus entertainment. To book tickets email or call 02380 424715.

Further information about all the awards categories and how to enter is available at