TIME is running out for entry to the Bucks Ambassadors Awards. Monday, January 29, is the closing date for entry and companies are reminded they can showcase their skills and achievements and be a benchmark for others by taking part in the county's top business competition, sponsored by the Bucks Free Press. Ambassador's president Robert Woollard urged companies to enter the awards scheme.

He said: "Last year's awards were a great success and saw 20 of the county's most outstanding companies rewarded for their achievements.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for every company that enters to raise their profile and promote what they do to a wide audience of influential business men and women - including the panel of judges and sponsors."

Judges will be visiting entrants in the weeks leading up to a high profile black tie dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Marlow this Spring.

Every entrant receives one free ticket and many of last years finalists booked tables to entertain clients and staff.

Mr Woollard, who is also chairman of Buckinghamshire County Council, explained that all short-listed entries will be considered for the top Five Star Outstanding Achievement Award, presented by his authority which is keen to reward and recognise business excellence.

Award Categories are: Buckinghamshire International Trade, Company of the Year, Corporate Social Responsibility, Entrepreneur of the Year, Innovation, Quality and Skills Development, Small Business of the Year and Sustainable Business He said: "We are particularly keen to encourage the thousands of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the county, which are vital to the health of our economy and deserve recognition for their entrepreneurial flair and innovative practices."

The competition has attracted a variety of sponsorship from international companies based in the county, such as GE Healthcare. This year another pharmaceutical leader, the French owned research company Servier Laboratories at Fulmer has become a main sponsor.

Eric Falcand, chief executive officer, whose company specialises in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis, welcomed the initiative saying: "The awards play an important part in recognising the success of organisations operating in Buckinghamshire and promoting economic development in the area."

Other sponsors include Bucks Economic Partnership, the Enterprise Hubs and the Bucks Free Press which produces a special event supplement. The organising committee is currently making arrangements for the awards dinner and has openings for individual sponsorship for elements of the awards evening and ceremony.