AT the heart of Cumbria's thriving business community are the pioneers who have made the county world-famous for innovative brands.

From global giants to family-owned firms, Cumbria is renowned for leading the field with high performance and brave new ideas.

These forward-thinking companies which have put the county firmly on the map are being recognised by this year's in-cumbria Business Awards in the Best Innovation category.

This award is being sponsored by the world-class BAE Systems who build nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Navy at its shipyard in Barrow.

BAE Systems is one of several major companies which have chosen to make Cumbria the base for their innovative work.

Jonathan Lee, group development director at CN Group, said: "We are extremely fortunate to have pioneering business people who have helped Cumbria become known for world-leading innovation across a range of sectors.

"From major employers to supply chain companies, from long-established family-owned businesses to small start-ups, innovation is ingrained in the Cumbria business community. Whether it's helping businesses run their operations more effectively and efficiently, or growing their businesses by developing innovative products and services, we have so much to celebrate.”

Jonathan added: "The in-cumbria Business Awards are a wonderful opportunity to highlight all that is best about businesses right across the county. Thanks to support from BAE Systems in sponsoring this award, we are able to showcase amazing innovation and celebrate why choosing Cumbria as their base for innovation to thrive is one of the best decisions any business will make.

"I would urge all companies who value innovation to send in their entries for the in-Cumbria Business Awards. We look forward to heralding the leading lights in Cumbrian innovation at our prestigious ceremony at The Halston, in Carlisle, in November. And we look forward to seeing you at the awards. Good luck."

Last year's innovation award went to Kendal Nutricare, which judges described as having a “clear vision” in creating the Kendalmil infant milk formula.

The Best Innovation award will go to the company which has developed the most innovative product, process, service or business method within the last three years and can demonstrate the positive impact it has had on the business.

This year's awards will be presented by the BBC's media editor, Amol Rajan, a former editor of The Independent, at an evening of celebration at the Halston Hotel in Carlisle on November 9.

Entries have already opened for the awards which will see 16 categories available to businesses and individuals with a distinguished panel of judges from the world of Cumbrian business assessing the entries.

To enter go to