THE countdown is on to the Bolton and Bury Business Awards.

With just days to go, the judges have made their decisions and on Thursday the cream of businesses in Bolton and Bury will be crowned at the annual awards dinner at The Macron.

It will be a fantastic night for all our finalists with eleven categories ranging from Start Up Business of the Year, through to Young Person/Apprentice of the Year.

And there is a new category to celebrate the success of the past ten years of the awards — the Business of the Decade.

The entries have been extremely strong, giving the judges a hard task of choosing three shortlisted finalists in each section which are all featured in this supplement.

We also thank all our category sponsors for their support. The winners will be announced in front of hundreds of guests. The evening starts with a drinks reception, followed by a welcomed from headline sponsors, Bolton Council and the University of Bolton. As we look to encourage young businessmen and women of tomorrow, we will be hearing from apprentices from MBDA, the missile company which sponsored the Young Person/Apprentice award.

Norman Prince is our host and the charity raffle will be for Urban Outreach, Bolton, which looks after vulnerable adults and young people in the borough.

It also runs a special summer lunch scheme for children.

You can be sure of a great night out at the Bolton and Bury Business Awards — and who knows, you may go home with a top award.

The awards are one of the most prestigious events on the business calendar in the region and attracts hundreds of guests. Last year was a huge success with for Saeed Atcha (Explode Magazine) who was the delighted winner of the young person/apprentice of the year.

And there were scenes of jubilation at the Four Recruitment table when the Bolton company scooped the Family Business of the Year award.

There was a double celebration for Julie Robinson and her Alliance Learning Team when they took home two awards — the SME of the Year and Julie’s own personal accolade, the Business Person of the Year.

Last year MBDA apprentices Jade Aspinall and Anna Schlautmann told the audience about their experiences. Two more young people will be taking to the stage again this year.

The finalists (in no particular order)

Start Up Business of the Year

Sponsored by The Bolton News/Bury Times

Mugpods Ltd, Bolton

Qualitas Medical Services Ltd

Air Vault Trampoline Park, Bolton

Best Company for Apprenticeship Development

Sponsored by The Bolton News/Bury Times

Fieldings Porter solicitors

EAT (Employment and Training) Pennies Ltd

Seddon, Bolton

Young Person/Apprentice of the Year

Sponsored by MBDA

Ashley Harrison, Wilsons Autos

Victoria Stigwood, Bolton College

Neal Wareing, Kerax Ltd

We’re Backing Bolton/Bury

Sponsored by Bristol Street Motors

Bain Plumbing Services, Bolton

Bury College

Bolton Young Persons Housing Scheme

Family Business of the Year

Sponsored by Carrs Pasties

Taziker Industrial Ltd

Gresham Office Furniture, Bolton

Assembly Solutions Ltd, Bolton

Customer Excellence Award

Sponsored by The Chinese Buffet

Perfect Fit by Carol, Bury

Crompton Way Motors, Bolton

Carriages Hair and Beauty, Bury

SME of the Year

Sponsored by Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd

Bring Digital, Bolton

Four Recruitment, Bolton

Assembly Solutions Ltd, Bolton

Business Person of the Year

Sponsored by KBL Solicitors

James Bancroft, Exclusec Security Solutions Ltd

Hannah Broughton, Twinkleboost CIC

Lee Parker, Parker Sourcing Ltd

Retailer of the Year

Sponsored by The Market Place

Clarks, Bolton

Debenhams, Bolton

Bolton Hospice

Business of the Year,

Sponsored by Stateside Foods

Taziker Industrial Ltd

Aptus Utilities Ltd, Bolton

Gresham Office Furniture, Bolton

Business of the Decade

Sponsored by The Bolton News/Bury Times

Taziker Industrial, Bolton

IDNS Supplies Ltd, Bolton

Holchem Laboratories Ltd, Bury

For the full lowdown on all the finalists, see today's The Bolton News or this week's Bury Times