Companies across the Marches have been given more time to enter a prestigious awards competition because of the coronavirus crisis.
The Rural Business Awards, supported by Amazon, has announced a new format for this year’s event and also extended the deadline for entries.
Because of the pandemic, this year’s awards will be entirely judged and run online and there will be no regional awards presentations. Instead, the National Final Awards Ceremony at the end of February 2021 will also incorporate a regional element.
Entries now close on Friday October 16, 2020, with the shortlist announced a month later.
Judges will review each National Finalist’s entry in depth in December to decide the national winners and runners up, with the National Final Awards Ceremony scheduled for Thursday February 25.
A spokesman for the organisers said the changes were inevitable because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
"Like so many of you, we are also a small rural business having to adapt in these challenging times and great uncertainty, but we strongly believe that, as a sector, we can get through this and that there will be so many stories to celebrate when we get together again at our National Final next year."
The Rural Business Awards are organised by rural business for rural business, to celebrate the achievements of rural companies and to develop a strong network for rural business owners.
There are 13 categories for businesses to enter, ranging from Best Rural Start-Up Business and Best Rural Diversification Project, through to Best Rural Professional Services Business and The Triumph Over Adversity Award.
Winners are chosen by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies and rural charitable organisations.
"This year has been challenging for many rural businesses and it’s more important than ever to show our support for them," said Doug Gurr, UK country manager, Amazon.
"The Rural Business Awards is a great opportunity to highlight the outstanding contribution of rural businesses and hear their stories, from how they’ve supported their communities this year to their exciting plans for the future."
For more details about the awards and how to enter visit https://www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk/