Past winners and finalists in the Midlands’ only independent, not-for-profit awards initiative to recognise family businesses joined sponsors and supporters at Birmingham’s Opus for the launch of the 2013 Midlands Family Business Awards.

The research for this year’s awards took the form of focus groups and interviews with 50 local employers between January and March 2013.

Employers were recruited to represent the key sectors for Birmingham: digital, engineering, life sciences, food and hospitality.

The size of firm ranged from micro and SMEs up to multinational companies with thousands of employees.

Holly and Simon Beckett of Beckett’s Farm, winner of the headline award in 2012, helped unveil details of this year’s awards that are run by The Wilson Organisation and raising funds for educational charity The Outward Bound Trust.

The awards’ ten categories include Family Business of the Year, sponsored by Smith Cooper, the new Retail Excellence sponsored by Triplar, Leading Adviser to Family Businesses sponsored by Unum, and Outstanding Contribution, sponsored by Thomas Miller Investment.

Additional category sponsors are Barclays, Crouch Logistics, PwC and Royal Sun Alliance.

It is free to enter the awards, and submissions can be made until June 30. Visit: . All winning businesses will be announced at a prestigious dinner in Birmingham on November 14.

Pictures by John Hipkiss.