An enthusiastic gathering marked the launch of the second Keighley Business Awards.

The event – attended by dozens of prospective entrants, organisers and sponsors – was staged in Victoria Hall, which will also be used to host the presentation night itself on May 16.

Among the guests last Tuesday evening were Tom Appelbee and Graeme Firth, whose mobility appliance company Fenetic Wellbeing won three awards in 2013, including the coveted Overall Business of the Year crown.

Introducing the 2014 competition, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for employment, skills and culture, said the snow that forced last year’s awards to be postponed failed to stop the contest from being hugely successful.

“I’m hoping this year we’ll see the same, if not better,” she told guests at the launch. “I hope you’re interested in entering the different award categories because the more entries we get the more competitive this becomes and the more accolades there are for the winners.”

Paul North, who works for Bradford Council’s economic development service, revealed there are four new award categories this year, designed to better reflect the breadth of businesses in Keighley.

The new sections are: manufacturing or engineering business of the year, food and drink business of the year, health and beauty business of the year and apprentice/trainee of the year.

Other categories include new business of the year, small business of the year, entrepreneur of the year, large business of the year, employer of the year and independent retailer of the year.

In addition, a business of the year award will be presented to the overall winner from all the above categories.

Coun Hinchcliffe confirmed eight of the categories now have sponsors, though the names of these have still to be revealed.

Philip Smith, awards steering group chairman, said: “We’re already much further ahead compared to the same time last year.

“From day one, a lot of businesses were approaching us wanting to know when the next awards would be. We’re getting plenty of interest from businesses who weren’t involved last time, as well as people who did enter in 2013.”

The awards are a collaboration between a range of organisations, including Airedale Enterprise Services, Airedale Shopping Centre, Bingley Chamber of Trade and Commerce, CB Digital PR, Clough and Company chartered accountants, the Keighley News, Keighley Town Centre Association and Puddle Digital.

Visit or follow @KeighleyBA on Twitter for further information.