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Nominations now open for Stratford Herald Business and Tourism Awards

THE Stratford Herald Business and Tourism Awards offer Stratford district entrepreneurs, businesses and charities the chance to showcase their dedicated staff, quality and commitment.

The district is home to a wide array of companies, including many hidden gems – those firms which are quietly performing on the national and international stage – and family-run enterprises.

One of the reasons for this is because the area is a great place to live and work, says Cllr Susan Juned, the Liberal Democrat leader of Stratford District Council, the awards’ headline sponsor.

“We are unique in so many ways with JLR based here and we have a great relationship with Warwick University and its Wellesbourne Campus and there are lots of exciting and innovative start-ups which will encourage new skills for young people and that’s so important for the future,” she said.

One of the council’s roles is to support these businesses.

SDC recently announced 49 projects, many involving local businesses, that will benefit from council funding as part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF).

The total amount awarded to these projects is £1,162,900.

The funding is a clear statement of intent from the district that it takes business support seriously – it has also just invested in boosting its economic development team.

It’s hoped the funding – and the investment in economic development – will have a positive impact which in turn supports the local economy and attracts new jobs and investment.

“It’s a broad range of projects but that extra money will help small businesses get what they need and that will spur growth and encourage the local economy,” Cllr Juned said.

However, SDC is quick to acknowledge that not everything is rosy. Retailers are suffering nationally and that is reflected in our high streets, particularly Stratford.

“I feel very strongly about this and the high street as we know is changing all the time from national to regional and local shopping habits are changing at the same time,” Cllr Juned said. “The government needs to re-think business rates to act as an incentive for businesses to invest.

“That little extra Stratford District Council has awarded business will hopefully give things a bit of a push.”

The deputy leader of the council, Cllr George Cowcher, told the Herald there was an understandable “nervousness” in Stratford’s business community because of the forthcoming election and the loss of some high-profile names from the town centre, but there was everything to play for in the years ahead, including the Business and Tourism Awards.

“Stratford District Council is playing its part to make more improvements for visitors and shoppers although pedestrianisation of the High Street appears to be hold for the moment as we wait to see what happens with the Debenhams development,” he said.

Cllr Cowcher also outlined why the awards are an important occasion for the local business community: “The various classes in the awards are an ideal opportunity to showcase your talent. It’s a fillip for morale and for the workforce. It’s an accolade for the winners and the entrants at the same time,” he said.

Another support for businesses is the sponsorship of the Business and Tourism Awards – a now annual event that celebrates quality in range of areas relating to businesses and organisations.

In total there are 14 categories with the finalists showcased at a gala event at the Crowne Plaza hotel, Stratford, on 18th October.

“There’s not that many local newspapers in print that are backing local businesses as the Herald does,” Cllr Juned continued. “We as a local authority are very keen to advocate and promote stable local economic growth, especially after Covid and the devastating effect that had on business and the economy and now a cost-of-living crisis and high energy costs.

“To anyone thinking of entering the awards but are not sure, I would say just do it for your own business and the economic development of this town, which is a unique and innovative place and you people deserve to be praised and given credit for the work you do.”

This year’s categories are:

Best Online Business

Best Family Business

Team of the Year

Community Support Award, sponsored by Stratford-upon-Avon School

Top Attraction, sponsored by Crowne Plaza hotel

Best Business Innovation, sponsored by Porterbrook

Employer of the Year, sponsored by Stratford College

Best New Business

Charity of the Year, sponsored by Orbit

Best Customer Experience

Best Green Business

Best Pub/Bar/Restaurant, sponsored by EFX

Employee of the Year, sponsored by Stratford District Council

Business of the Year, sponsored by Shakespeare Martineau

To enter this year’s the awards, visit stratfordheraldawards.co.uk – it can all be done online ready for our independent judges to view.

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