OVER 500 business people are gathering to celebrate the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce’s Business Awards on Thursday.

Those gathering at the University of Worcester Arena will be celebrating the success, innovation and hard work of local businesses - a maybe collecting an award.

There are 12 categories, ranging from Entrepreneur of the Year, Commitment to People Development and Overall Business of the Year, the business that stands out above all the rest.

Last year’s winner was Orchard Valley Foods Limited in Tenbury, while Bromyard-based Apreco Ltd scooped the 2015 Manufacturer of the Year award. The business successfully impressed the judges for meeting the demands of their global customers against a backdrop of declining sales in the UK.

Three Herefordshire businesses are finalists for the Awards: Hereford-based Cargill is a finalist for the Manufacturer of the Year Award sponsored by QinetiQ. Leominster-based Kingspan Insulation has been shortlisted for the Excellence in Innovation Award, sponsored by Central Technology Belt and Hereford-based Rural Concierge is a finalist for the Most Promising New Business Award, sponsored by mfg Legal Services Limited.

Attendees can look forward to an evening of networking, a spectacular drinks reception, three course dinner and raising money for four local charities through a raffle and games. A key highlight of the evening will be hearing from former athlete Colin Jackson, Olympic silver medallist, world record holder and TV personality, who is the keynote speaker for the event.

For a full list of finalists visit Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce.