Cumbria's premier awards event is preparing to celebrate the cream of the county's business community.

The in-Cumbria Business Awards 2020 will take place on November 12 at 7pm.

Despite the difficulties presented by social distancing rules due to the coronavirus crisis, the in-Cumbria team decided the show must go on and the awards ceremony will be live streamed online.

The host for the event will be Vassos Alexander, who is best known for co-hosting the Chris Evans breakfast show and has appeared on a number of BBC radio and TV shows.

Vassos said: "I am delighted to be able to help Cumbrian businesses celebrate on what I am sure will be a very special evening.

"It has been a difficult year in so many ways, so I am looking forward to playing my part in giving people something to cheer about and making sure this is a real night to remember. I can't wait to be there in November."

As in previous years, one of the most keenly watched awards will be that for Lifetime Contribution to Cumbria, which last year went to John Grainger, executive director of Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster.

While nominations for this award - which is sponsored by associate sponsor NRL - are welcome, the winner will be decided by the in-Cumbria team and there will be no published shortlist.

This year will also feature the Best Community Involvement award - sponsored by the Cumberland Building Society - but with a specific focus on how businesses have helped their communities during the coronavirus crisis.

A new award, the Against All Odds Special Award - sponsored by BAE Systems, will celebrate businesses which have battled against the odds to survive the Covid-19 pandemic.

Entries are also open for; Businessperson of the Year - sponsored by TSP Engineering, Apprentice/Trainee of the Year - sponsored by the University of Cumbria, New Business of the Year - sponsored by Furness College, SME of the Year - sponsored by Cartmell Shepherd, Large Business of the Year, Family Business of the Year - sponsored by Lamont Pridmore, Professional Services Business of the Year and Green/Ethical Business of the Year.

To enter the awards go to: The closing date for entries is September 7.

Entries that have been made since they first opened in April will still be taken into account.

Rebecca Graves, director of associate sponsor NRL's recruitment business in Egremont, said: "As a business our roots have been firmly planted in Cumbria since 1983, and for more than three decades our Egremont recruitment team have been committed to supporting and championing local businesses.

"As such we were delighted to be named as the associate sponsor for the 2020 in-Cumbria Business Awards. This year more so than ever, the awards will give us the much needed opportunity to come together as a business community and celebrate the many successes that have been hard earned in the toughest of times.

"The achievements of the nominated businesses, teams and working professionals are always inspirational but with the current backdrop of Covid-19, these accomplishments mean even more.

"Cumbria has a lot to celebrate and NRL are extremely proud to play our part in support of these awards.

"Despite the challenging times we have all faced this year, it is overwhelming to see the resilience our business community has shown.

"These awards allow us to highlight outstanding accomplishments and acknowledge the hard work that our local businesses and local business people have undertaken.

"2020 has been a strange year for everyone – both professionally and personally and this global pandemic has seen us all become more isolated and remote than ever before.

"It is through technology that we have reconnected and come together, so this event will be a great way of re-uniting our local business community to celebrate a series of outstanding achievements together."

Vanessa Sims, group editor for in-Cumbria publisher Newsquest Cumbria, said: “With so much change and uncertainty in the Cumbrian economy as it responds to the circumstances surrounding the global Covid-19 pandemic there is no better time to celebrate the best in business across the county.

“in-Cumbria’s business awards is all about showcasing hard work, talent, skills and innovation in Cumbria and I am delighted that we can still highlight the many successes in one of the toughest year’s for business.”

Lee Taylor-Craddock, sales director for LOCALiQ, said: "Despite the challenges the pandemic has brought for small and large businesses across Cumbria, here at in-Cumbria we have been blown away by the business innovation, diversification, leadership, resilience, community support and dedication to Cumbria as a whole which has continued to take place.

"We cannot let these fantastic achievements pass without recognition and this cemented our decision to go virtual and create a platform where for one evening we can all join in celebrating together."