The region's entrepreneurs who have made a lasting contribution to business and those with the most promise for future success are to be recognised at an awards ceremony.
Judges are currently sifting through nominations made for the annual Entrepreneurs’ Forum awards, which recognise the Entrepreneur of the Year and the Emerging Talent of the Year.
A third award, last year won by John Squires of Benfield Motor Group, recognises Lifetime Achievement.
A shortlist of three candidates will be put forward for each award which will be presented at a new event for the Forum in the shape of a dedicated celebration evening and dinner at Newcastle Gateshead Hilton Hotel on September 20, hosted by Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European medallist Steve Cram.
The Emerging Talent award, won last year by Brett Jacobson, of Mediaworks, is sponsored this year by RIBA Enterprises.
Richard Waterhouse, chief executive of RIBA Enterprises said: “We know from experience of our own business sector that the North East is home to many innovative and entrepreneurial organisations and people that make a significant contribution to the local economy.
“In such a tough economic climate, it is important to recognise success and, in particular, celebrate the region’s next generation of entrepreneurs.”
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is being sponsored by The Lakes Distillery Co, Cumbria’s first legal whisky distillery located next to Bassenthwaite lake, in the Lake District.
The Pen Shop, Europe’s biggest writing instrument specialist, is sponsoring the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The evening, which is expected to attract the great and the good of the North East’s entrepreneurial community, will also see the formal presentation to the winners of If We Can You Can 2013, the Forum’s annual challenge to find the next generation of entrepreneurs.
The awards are being sponsored by Gentoo to raise awareness of the charity it supports, the Nuru Fund, which aims to make use of a free resource to help rural communities in East Africa – the sun. The Fund offers small, customised loans that allow rural households to purchase solar powered lamps, with the added capability to charge mobile phones, to improve education, health, income and encourage a more planet smart way of living among vulnerable communities.
The evening will be a fundraiser for the Nuru Fund with a silent auction and other activities, continuing a tradition of altruism and commitment to support worthy causes by Forum members.