THIS year’s South Coast Business Awards were officially launched with a call for everyone to encourage a business to enter.

The awards are open to businesses across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and will culminate in a ceremony at St Mary’s Stadium on Thursday, July 9.

The home of the Saints hosted the launch event yesterday, with the Daily Echo and award supporters, including principal sponsor Dutton Gregory.

Businesses have until June 8 to enter the awards, which celebrate businesses in all sectors in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Daily Echo associate editor Andy Martin said judges would be looking for businesses that were thriving in a time of rapid change.

“If you’ve been running a business over the past few years, you’ll know a thing or two about change,” he said.

“And in 2020, the pace of change is likely to accelerate.”

He added: “With so much upheaval going on, an ability to cope with rapidly changing conditions is key to impressing our award judges.”

Vincent Boni, regional managing director of Daly Echo publisher Newsquest, spoke of the changing publishing world and the innovation of the company’s digital marketing service LOCALiQ.

He said businesses who shared their success online could harness a “magnificent multiplier” which “turbo charges the publicity that comes from taking the time to enter these awards”.

Andrew Witt, commercial litigation partner at law firm Dutton Gregory, said: “We’ve been associated with businesses large and small throughout the region for over 70 years now. I appreciate that there are law firms which have been around slightly longer.

“We’re proud of being in the region and we continue to support local businesses.”

He said 2020 was a “year of change because there’s so much uncertainty” but that businesses would adapt and innovate.

He urged everyone present to enter their own business or encourage another business to enter the awards.

“No matter what the size of the business, we should encourage these organisations to come forward because there’s such a diversity of businesses in this region,” he said.

The nominations will be considered by a judging panel and may be subject to a mystery shopper visit by the category sponsor.

All three finalists in each category, plus one guest each, will be invited to join their category sponsors at the awards ceremony.

The guest speaker at this year’s ceremony will be Green & Black’s co-founder Jo Fairley.

The winners of each category will receive £250 of advertising in the Daily Echo or on and will also be featured in the category winners’ coverage in the Daily Echo or on

You can enter online at

Businesses entering the awards will be required to submit a one-page summary of accounts with their application.