The North East Entrepreneurial Awards will be held online for the first time in its 17-year history – as it continues to highlight exceptional achievements in extraordinary times.

While the usual black-tie awards ceremony cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions, organisers the Entrepreneurs’ Forum will instead announce the winners as part of a week-long social media campaign.

However, it will continue the charity fundraising traditionally linked with the event, which has previously raised more than £500,000 for regional and national good causes.

This year the Forum is supporting Feeding Families, a North East charity providing food hampers to those families struggling to cope with the added expense of Christmas.

As part of the effort, its team will be running, walking or cycling a total of 350 miles in 14 days – the distance it takes to circumnavigate the North East region and virtually visit the head offices of its members.

Elaine Stroud of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum said: “Our team is passionate about making a difference in our region, and without the fundraising efforts of our annual awards, we knew we needed to do something.

“Feeding Families provides Christmas hampers to families in our region who struggle to make ends meet. Receiving a food hamper, especially at Christmas, can make a huge difference.

“2020 has been a unique year to say the least and while we can’t celebrate as we usually do, we still wanted to acknowledge the exceptional work of those who are leading dynamic and growing businesses in the region.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating the achievements of the North East’s emerging and established entrepreneurs online and encourage those who fit the criteria to send in their nominations.”

Nominations remain open until 30th November 2020 and the winners will be announced the week of the 8th February 2021.

They awards comprise of five categories recognising each stage of the entrepreneurial journey: Emerging Talent, Scale-up, Entrepreneur of the Year, Mentor of the Year and Lifetime Achievement.  Those nominated do not have to be a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum.

Since the first award was presented to John Hays of Hays Travel in 2004, the North East Entrepreneurial Awards has recognised 50 of the region’s leading entrepreneurs, including property developer Sir John Hall, Paul Callaghan CBE of Leighton Group, and Anne Preston MBE of Prestons of Potto.

Nominations can be made online at