WITH just 10 days to go, companies are being urged to submit entries for the region's most prestigious business awards.
The winners in North-East Business Awards 2007 will be announced at a black-tie dinner at Hardwick Hall, Sedgefield, on May 1 next year.
In the run-up to the awards - which are organised by The Journal and its sister paper the Evening Gazette - regional heats will take place for companies in three distinct areas of the region.
Winners in 12 categories will be unveiled at each of the heats for the following areas; Tyneside and Northumberland, the Tees Valley and Durham and Wearside.
The 36 winners from the sub-regional heats will all then go forward to compete in the final.
Last year's overall North-East Company of the Year was Newcastle-based oil pipe company Wellstream International, recognising a year in which it floated on the stock market and expanded its business globally.
Since winning the award, the company has gone on to bigger and better things, having recently won a series of major contracts and revealed plans to invest pounds 35m in expanding capacity at its factories in Newcastle and Brazil.
Steve Brown, regional managing director of Trinity Mirror Group (owners of The Journal and Evening Gazette), said: "The race for the 2007 Business Awards is under way and it should be the best ever."
Alistair MacColl, chief executive of sponsors Business Link, said: "Each year the North-East Business Awards provide us with a unique opportunity to celebrate business excellence in our region.
"It's a chance for businesses of all sizes and from all sectors to demonstrate their ambition and achievement."
Celebrating region's innovators
CITROX is a business which has created a product with excellent green credentials - a harmless steriliser made from citrus fruit.
It was recognised for its achievements by scooping the Innovation Award winner at the North-East Business Awards in 2006.
Launched by former development chemist Ian Ripley four years ago, the Middlesbrough company now operates in a large number of sectors, including food decontamination, catering, health, veterinary, dentistry, babycare, personal care, animal, poultry and fish feed supplements.
The original idea - to make a steriliser from fruit acids and orange extracts - was conceived by Mr Ripley seven years ago and has been developed with a significant investment in research and development.
SPONSORS The Innovation Award at this year's 2007 North-East Business Awards is being sponsored by RMT Financial Management Ltd.
Directors Richard Blackett and Kevin Walker said: "RMT Financial Management is a large firm of independent financial advisers based in Newcastle.
"We have invested heavily in technology and continue to be innovative in the way in which we can deliver a first-class, cost-effective service to a client base which includes some of the region's leading businesses and private individuals.
"As we have been involved heavily in change and innovation, we believe we have the experience to be able to identify those companies who have embraced innovation to enhance their business.
"The North-East Business Awards are a celebration of what's best in business and we are delighted to be able to offer our support to ensure its continued success."
The Tyneside and Northumberland Innovation Award for 2007 is sponsored by Newcastle Science City.
Director Sarah Stewart said: "Translating world-class scientific research into economic and social benefits will help our cities compete on a global scale.
"Newcastle Science City proactively encourages links between businesses and universities where groundbreaking research is taking place.
"It is a complex task to take scientific research and transform it into commercially-viable …