The finalists of this year’s Caerphilly Business Forum Business Awards have been revealed.

Now in their 16th year, the awards are the only awards to represent the rapidly developing Caerphilly county business region.

The winners of each category - who will automatically be entered into the Premier Award sponsored by Broomfield & Alexander - will be announced at an awards evening held on Friday November 17, 2017, at Llechwen Hall. The host this year will once again be BBC presenter, Jamie Owen.

With a 44 per cent increase in the number of entries this year compared to last year, the awards will celebrate and recognise those businesses and individuals making the greatest contribution to the region and the wider South Wales economy.

The shortlisted firms are:

Apprentice of the Year: Brandon Griffiths, GE Aviation Wales; and Megan Hession, Montana Healthcare.

Business Woman of the Year: Kelsey Dobbs, A Schulman Inc Ltd; Alex Jones, Coffee 37; Marsha Ward, The Number Hub; and Julie Waters, Thomas Carroll Group.

Creative and Digital Business of the Year: Big Lemon Creative; CineMerse; and Tania Miller Photography.

Entrepreneur of the Year: Natasha Gordon, HaGGLA; Tania Miller, Tania Miller Photography; Studio Hicks, Emily Hicks Creative; and Lewis Peach, Peak Performance Fitness Solutions.

Large Business of the Year (over 50 employees): A Schulman Inc Ltd; Thomas Carroll Group; and Lexon Group.

Contribution to the Rural Economy: Hallets Cider; Sirhowy Valley Honeybee Company; GoConnect and The Living Room Yr Ystafell fyw.

Small Business of the Year (under 49 employees): Palladium Training & Consultancy Ltd; PK Safety; Mountain Celebrations Ltd and J R Gilbert Engineering.

Start-Up Business of the Year: Signum-Health Ltd; Panda Education & Training Ltd; Mountain Celebrations Ltd and JR Gilbert Engineering.

Welsh ICE Business of the Year Award: ServiceTracker; Wize Virtual Admin; WRi Group and Datris.

Denise Lovering, chairman of Caerphilly Business Forum, said: “2017 is proving to be a remarkable year for businesses in the region, as testified by both the volume and calibre of entries received this year.

“Caerphilly has a buoyant business community that is attracting interest from across south east Wales. From ambitious and fast-growing start-ups to nationally and internationally recognised business across a multitude of sectors, the region’s appeal as a business destination of choice is increasing apace. This is evidenced by the diversity of those businesses that have been shortlisted this year.

“The awards are not only a celebration of the great work and achievements of the regions businesses, they serve as a reminder to the rest of Wales that great businesses and great business communities exists throughout the country.

“We are thrilled for all the finalists and we look forward to what promises to be a fantastic Awards ceremony.”