Nice to meet you!

SPONSORS and shortlisted companies in the prestigious Bedfordshire and Luton Rising Stars Business Excellence Awards met for a ‘getting to know you’ session.

Next Thursday’s awards ceremony will be held at the Park Inn Hotel, Bedford, where ex-England football legend Jimmy Greaves will be the main speaker.

“Rather than leave it to the night to get to know each other, we thought it would be a good idea to get people together,” said David Hughes, of Pictons, the law company sponsoring the awards for Small/Medium Sized (SME) Business of the Year.

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Peter Lennie, of Bell Packaging, based on the Barratt Industrial Park, Airport Way, Luton, said he had thought long and hard about whether to enter.

“I found the questions stimulating and thought we should be a bit more public about what we do,” said Mr Lennie.

Bell Packaging has been shortlisted for three awards, for small/medium business, green business and international business awards.

International Business of the Year sponsors HSBC were also represented at the gathering at Pictons office in Luton, on Thursday.

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Neal Carter, HSBC’s international commercial manager, based in Luton, said: “The world is getting smaller.”

Paul Robson, of Biggleswade and Dunstable-based Preen Furnitire Bank Community Interest Company, said the awards were an extension of his company’s ‘pass it on’ mentality.

Preen is sponsoring this year’s Employee of the Year Award and has also been shortlisted for Company of the Year.

Mr Robson said: “We will have our Oscar smiles if we don’t win!”