THE best in Bradford businesses will be gathering later this month for the Bradford Means Business Awards which return for 2021.

Organised by the Telegraph & Argus in partnership with Bradford Council, finalists across ten categories are set to find out who will win the coveted awards.

While the 2020 awards had to be cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s black tie gala dinner and ceremony will be back with all the usual glamour on the evening of September 30.

There are ten categories, and this year there are a number of changes, with two new categories for 2021, as well as two categories introduced in 2020, but never awarded.

These are Tech Company of the Year and Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year, as well as Sustainability Award and Social Mobility Award.

Existing categories which are returning for 2021 are: SME Business of the Year, Employer of the Year, New Business of the Year, Apprentice of the Year, Manufacturer of the Year, and Family Business of the Year.

A total of 31 finalists across the ten categories have been invited to attend the glittering ceremony, with a drinks reception, meal and entertainment at the Bradford Hotel in the heart of the city centre. There will also be special guest speakers and a host to ensure the evening gets off to a great start.

In addition a Winner of Winners Award will be decided on the night by those attending, selected from the ten category winners.

Telegraph & Argus editor Nigel Burton said: “When we held the business awards in 2019 no one could have foreseen the seismic disruption on the horizon in the form of Covid-19.

“The global pandemic has been the greatest challenge the world economy has faced in peacetime. As the pandemic broke in the first half of 2019 countries - including our own - were forced to close down all but essential services.

“The result was a disturbance in the global economy on an unprecedented scale.

“From lack of PPE to furlough and customer migration to online companies have faced existential challenges throughout the past 18 months.

“But thanks to the remarkable speed and development of vaccines we are starting to see light at the end of what has been a very dark tunnel indeed. The UK’s vaccination programme has gone very well and we are now witnessing a very welcome return to the High Street.

“Sadly, many countries are not in the same position. Fewer than one third of the world’s population has had two jabs and until everyone is protected there will always be a risk of new variants and covid flare-ups.

“So Bradford will need its entrepreneurs more than ever over the next few years - businesses that are nimble on their feet and can roll with the changes. Start-ups brimming with optimism and confidence; well-established firms that can stand on their own feet by relying on their experience and sound judgement; the innovators and the risk-takers.

“That’s why this year’s awards give me a sense of optimism for Bradford’s future.

“The businesses we celebrate here are the best of the best. They have succeeded through thick and thin by offering great products and fantastic service.

“Just as the T&A has transitioned from being a purely print business to being one of the country’s largest regional news websites and a market-leading provider of digital marketing services, so they have met the challenge of a changing world magnificently. They all have the ‘right stuff’ our district needs not just to come through the pandemic but to thrive.”

Good luck to all the finalists - find out more below:

New Business of the Year Award

SME Business of the Year Award

Employer of the Year Award

Tech Company of the Year Award

Apprentice of the Year Award

Manufacturer of the Year Award

Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year Award

Sustainability Award

Social Mobility Award

Family Business of the Year Award