Judging of this year’s Industry Awards is now complete.

With less than a month to go until the awards ceremony, judges gathered at the Echo offices on the Granby Industrial Estate to assess this year’s hopefuls.

Among those picking the finalists was Chris Curtis, Director of Business Banking for Natwest in Dorset.

He said: “It’s been really good fun. I have been amazed by the business ideas people have come up with. I have been involved in banking for 34 years, and for 26 of those I looked after SMEs – it never ceases to amaze me what great quality businesses are out there, and the passion people have for their business. Big businesses can learn a lot from some of these smaller businesses. I’m really pleased by the standard we have seen here today. Half a dozen businesses really stood out to me.” Natwest is the overall sponsor of this year’s Industry Awards.

Mr Curtis added: “Natwest has been involved in the Industry Awards before, but this is first time I have personally been involved. At Natwest we are very keen to support local businesses, but from my own perspective the size and type of business we have been talking about today are the backbone of employment and growth in the UK.”

Clair Walker of BMI Healthcare also sat on the judging panel. She said: “It’s been a very busy day. We have seen a great mix of businesses and entrepreneurs. It’s been a very difficult process picking our favourites.

“There have been a lot of new businesses setting up and we have also seen existing businesses diversifying what they’re offering.

“I think the Industry Awards are a great opportunity to recognise all the fantastic local business in the area. Hopefully there will be even more applicants next year.”

The judges have picked three finalists in each category. They will be invited to join the overall sponsor Natwest at Weymouth College and their category sponsors at the awards ceremony at Weymouth College on Thursday June 13, where the winners will be announced. The winners of each category will receive £250 of advertising in the Dorset Echo or on dorsetecho.co.uk and will also be featured in the category winners’ coverage in the Dorset Echo and online.

To purchase tickets to attend this year's Industry Awards click here