THE hunt has begun for Blackburn with Darwen's sharpest entrepreneurs.

Hive is drumming up nominations for the borough's annual business awards, ahead of their big night out on June 27.

Twenty-four gongs will be up for grabs at King George's Hall, say promoters.

And past winners are already lining up to say how winning a past prize has bolstered their reputation.

Mark Murray, director at TPW Designs Consultants, named last year's Creative Agency of the Year, said: "The award has given us a huge amount of credibility, and opened doors to new business."

The deadline for entries, with nominations sought online via, is March 29.

Ian Brown, of the Hive Ambassadors Network, said: "Last year we had some incredible companies involved who really exemplified the industrious and entrepreneurial nature of the commercial sector in our region.”

"These awards offer a way of really showcasing the success of your business. Past winners have seen a huge boost in both awareness and growth as result of picking up a Hive business award."

Other awards are on offer in everything from the retail and marketing fields, to growth and manufacturing prizes.