The countdown to the 2008 Creative City Awards has begun with the announcement of the three finalists shortlisted for each of the six prestigious categories.

Nominees will have to wait until the official awards ceremony at the ICC on Saturday November 29 to find out if they have won and to claim their £2,000 development prize.

Recognising and celebrating the best of Birmingham’s creative talent, the Creative City Awards, organised by Birmingham City Council, are an annual event showcasing the creative industry to the city and the rest of the country.

Previous winners have included music studios, graphic design agencies, a regionally-run style and culture magazine and theatre companies.

The finalists announced for the Regional Outstanding Business Development Award are Bubblequest, Internet Arrow and Digital Native Academy.

The Electric Cinema and Substrakt are competing for the Birmingham Outstanding Business Development Award.

The three finalists for the Innovation Award are Adwords, LHM Media and IE Design Consultancy.

In the Outstanding Market Development Award, finalists include Fierce Earth, D A Recordings and Fused.

For the Best Brand Award finalists include D A Recordings, Violectra trading as Unison Strings and IE Design and D A Recordings, Stan’s Cafe and Fierce Earth are competing for the Creative Industries Award.

The evening will be hosted by NEC chief executive Paul Thandi and BBC Breakfast presenter Kate Silverton.

Among those presenting award presenters are Birmingham Post editor Marc Reeves, BBC television’s Ashley Blake and Radio 2’s Janice Long.