Search is now on to find the Barclays Business of the Year

EDP Business Awards 2012 at the Holiday Inn, Norwich North. Business of the Year winners Neal Sands (R) , Thomas Sands (L)...

EDP Business Awards 2012 at the Holiday Inn, Norwich North. Business of the Year winners Neal Sands (R) , Thomas Sands (L) and award sponsor Matthew Peek of Barclays. - Credit: Angela Sharpe

Today we reveal the finalists of this year's EDP Business Awards.

And now the search is under way to select the winner of the coveted title of Barclays Business of the year.

Each of the finalists in the individual award categories go forward for consideration for the ultimate honour on the awards night on Thursday, November 7.

But it is not just a category winner who could claim the Business of the Year title.

Finalists who miss out on winning their category, still have a chance to clinch the overall award.

Judges are looking for a company that has all-round qualities – from strong financial performance and profit growth, through to care of customers, the environment and its staff.

Last year's winner was Stalham-based Sands Agricultural Machinery, which under the stewardship of Neal Sands had been built up into a multi-award winning and leading manufacturer of crop sprayers.

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The business caught the eye of the judges with its strong family heritage and its very active new product development to incorporate the latest satellite precision farming technology.

Speaking after receiving the award, Mr Sands paid tribute to all the staff at the factory for helping to build a successful company.

'I think it is the quality of our British-made product which made us stand out to the judges,' he said. 'I'm very proud, but couldn't do it by myself, so I owe this to my loyal employees.'

The judges of Business of the Year are Tim Seeley, head of East Anglia corporate banking at Barclays, and Johnny Hustler, managing director

of Archant Anglia.

Mr Seeley, who has judged the Business of the Year Award for more than two decades, said: 'What we are looking for is the business which has that something extra setting them out against their peers. I'm always looking for a rounded business which demonstrates flair and consistency in all aspects of performance, from good financial results to a commitment to customers, staff and the environment.'

Judges will now draft a shortlist of businesses from the finalists and carry out site visits and interviews with senior managers, before making their decision which will be revealed at the new-look awards ceremony at the Norfolk Showground Arena on Thursday November 7.