LEADING figures across East Lancashire are urging firms to showcase their enterprise and achievements by entering the area’s premier business awards.

The 2012 Lancashire Telegraph Business Awards give individuals, and firms, the chance to be recognised for their successes in the past 12 months.

The leaders of both Blackburn with Darwen, and Burnley Councils, which are respectively sponsoring the High Street Retailer and Export categories, today praised the contest, which climaxes with a spectacular awards ceremony at Ewood Park, Blackburn, on November 16.

Coun Andy Tatchell, Burnley Council’s executive member for economic development, said: “We are pleased to be involved in the Lancashire Telegraph Business Awards. They have a great track record of recognising the fantastic achievement of businesses in Lancashire.

“We particularly wanted to sponsor the Export category because what this recession has demonstrated is that for UK plc to succeed, it needs to make stuff, make it well, and export it.”

Coun Kate Hollern, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council said: “I am delighted twe are able to sponsor Retailer of the Year Award again this year with a particular emphasis on the High Street, which is so topical at the moment. It is time we celebrated the important contribution high street retailers make to the vitality of our town centres.

“We should all support our high street retailers as much as we can, and keep our town centres busy and vibrant places, at the heart of our communities.”

There are a total of 11 awards, and other sponsors are Blackburn College, Themis the business training division for Burnley College, Accrol Papers, BAE Systems , worldwide business experts Deloitte, Hyndburn Enterprise Trust, and legal firm Napthens.

David Hill, partner at the Blackburn office of Lancashire law firm Napthens, said: “As a firm advising, and working with, many organisations across East Lancashire, we enjoy supporting these awards which highlight, and applaud, the hard work and achievements of local businesses.”

Tim Bullough, commercial director of Accrol Papers, said: “As a business with our roots firmly in Lancashire, we are delighted to sponsor the Lancashire Telegraph Business Awards and, in particular, the Manufacturing category which makes a significant contribution to the prosperity of the area.”

Entry is free and forms, which must be returned by September 10, can be downloaded at http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/business/business_awards/ or by emailing businessawards@lancashire.newsquest.co.uk