Some of the region’s most established firms are joined by smaller up-and-coming companies in the shortlist for this year’s Birmingham Post Business Awards.

The ceremony, which takes place at Edgbaston Stadium on October 17, is one of the major events in the West Midlands business calendar.

Growing legal firm Shakespeares, former winner Pailton Engineering, Deutsche Bank Operations International and listed property firm St Modwen Properties are among those shortlisted.

They sit alongside some less well-known names, like instrument-maker Warwick Music, leadership event firm Top Banana and Learning Labs, an education resource company, vying for 11 awards.

The 12th award on the night will be the big one – Company Of The Year – which will be selected as the best of the best.

The shortlist was selected by an expert panel of judges ahead of the business showcase.

Eighty companies entered the awards and the shortlist highlights the emerging strength of firm across many sectors as the region fights its way back from economic gloom.

Post Editor Stacey Barnfield, who chaired the judging panel, said: “We have been taken aback by the quality of entries in this year’s business awards.

“The Post has been reporting a lot about improvements in the local economy of late and this was really reinforced in the applications.

“It was a fascinating process whittling down dozens of entries into what we think is a very impressive shortlist. There were a lot of difficult decisions to be made and many a heated debate between the judges.

“The Birmingham Post Business Awards is always a fantastic night, and we are sure this year’s will be the best yet.”

The judges spent hours debating before deciding on the final shortlist.

Fellow judges included Professor David Bailey, a noted academic and Post columnist, David Caro from the Federation of Small Businesses in the West Midlands, and KPMG partner Narinder Paul.

Creative sector expert Ruth Pipkin, managing director of city firm Rewired PR, and Anthony McCourt, founder of property company Court Collaboration, made up the rest of the judging panel.

This year the awards will be hosted by television news reader Natasha Kaplinsky, and sponsored by Turkish Airlines, Bournville College, Birmingham Airport, Court Collaboration, Jaguar Land Rover, Jerroms, Investec Wealth and Management, Lloyds TSB and Wesleyan Assurance Society.

Last year IM Properties won Company of the Year and also scooped the Property & Regeneration award, impressing judges with how directors dealt with the sector’s downturn.

Fellow winners were WH Smith & Sons (Tools), Travel de Courcey, OWB Creative Communications, Wesleyan Assurance Society, Just Checking, Damien Hayward-Bradley, Chiltern Railways and SGH Martineau.

* To book a table at the Birmingham Post Business Awards visit www.bpbusinessawards.co.uk

Awards shortlist

Communications and marketing

 Barques PR

 Liquid PR

 Top Banana
 

Emerging Professional

 Gary Blowers – Viva Aspire

 Paul Ellis – Deutsche Bank

 PJ Ellis – Pro Golf Tours

Environment

 Bullwell Trailer Solutions

 I2R Packaging

 Ventive

Export

Pailton Engineering

Warwick Music

Finance

 Citysave Credit Union

 Deutsche Bank Operations International UK

 Kennet Equipment Leasing

 

Legal

 Browne Jacobson

 Nicklin

 Pinsent Masons

 Shakespeares

Manufacturing

 Exol Lubricants

 Professional Polishing

 Sertec

 Titania

Medium to Large

 O’Brien Contractors

 Arup

 Rhead Group

People Development

 Gleeson Recruitment Group

 Willmott Dixon 4Life Academy

Property

 Associated Architects

 Keepmoat

 O’Brien Contractors

 St Modwen Properties

SME

 Alcomet

 Learning Labs

 Serious Games International

 Warwick Music