The awards celebrating contributions made by local businesses in the borough are set to return for their third year.

Nominations have opened for this year’s Havering Small Business Awards, which will have 11 categories, including the new addition Best Sustainable Business.

A Havering Council spokeswoman said the competition has a slightly different format this time to encourage more businesses from across Havering to enter.

The first round of nominations, she said, is open for businesses to nominate themselves for an award they think they deserve to win, unlike last year.

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While entering the contest, the business owner will be asked to explain and give evidence on why they should be nominated.

Once shortlisted, the council will do a cross check with its teams which manage business rates, public protection, and environmental enforcement to make sure the business qualifies to go to the next and final round.

The entries that make the cut will then be made open to public for voting.

The top three businesses with the most public votes in each category will then be invited to the award ceremony which will take place in September 2024.

The full list of categories for the awards this year is given below:

Best Small or Independent Business

Best Beauty or Service Business 

Best Take Away 

Best Hospitality Business

Best Tradesperson 

Best Customer Experience

Best Shopfront

Best Social Enterprise or CIC

Best Newcomer (less than a year old – operating since June 2023) 

Best Sustainable Business

The Havering Small Business of the Year Award (voted by the judging panel).

Councillor Ray Morgon, Leader of Havering Council, said the awards are a timely reminder of how important it is to show support for local businesses and to shop locally wherever possible.

He thanked the sponsors, including Havering’s 12 Estates Regeneration project partner, Wates, for backing the awards despite the council’s financial challenges.

“We want as many businesses as possible to nominate themselves this year and to encourage the public to then vote for our finalists when that stage of the voting opens later in June," he said.

“Remember to follow the Havering Small Business Awards 2023/24 on our social media channels or by searching #HaveringSBA too."

Hugh Jeffery, regional development manager for Wates, added: “We are very pleased to be able to offer this wider support and celebrate Havering Small Businesses."