Expert judging for the in-Cumbria Business Awards 2019 has reached the halfway point.

So far expert judges have visited 24 finalists across eight of the 16 categories for this year’s record-breaking awards.

The number of categories judged will pass the halfway mark on Friday, with expert judge Adrian Davis-Johnston meeting finalists in the Best Innovation category, and fellow in-Cumbria columnist Kevin Roberts hitting the road to decide who will win the honour of Best Marketing Strategy.

Judging started in earnest earlier this month, with 16 expert judges, accompanied by representatives of Newsquest Cumbria – publishers of in-Cumbria magazine – enlisted to decide who will win at this year’s awards.

However, finalists will face an agonising wait until the victors are revealed at a glittering awards ceremony hosted by news presenter, journalist and author Cathy Newman at The Halston, in Carlisle, on Thursday, November 14.

One recently judged category was Best Large Business. Lean business coach and in-Cumbria columnist Ray McCreadie was enlisted to help ascertain the winner of the hotly-contested and long-running category.

Penrith-based fintech company, electrical specialists Bender UK, of Ulverston and nuclear i3 Decommissioning Partners are vying for the award.

Mr McCreadie said: “It was great day meeting people behind the running of some fantastic Cumbrian companies,” he said.

“All three of the finalists should be extremely proud of their businesses and what they have achieved.

“It was clear that we have a huge amount of talent in the county. The sheer variety in terms of sector, and the geographical spread, just shows we have a lot to be proud of.”

Editor of in-Cumbria, Luke Dicicco, who accompanied Mr McCreadie in judging the category, hailed the involvement of the expert judges and the efforts made by finalists to wow them.

“We’re hugely grateful to all of our expert judges who have taken time out of their busy schedules to decide who is the best of Cumbria in 2019,” he said.

“Their experience is invaluable to the judging process, and, yet again, many have shared their insights and given advice to our finalists to give them real food for thought and ideas they can take away and develop.

“It promises to be the toughest year yet in deciding the winners.”

This year’s award attracted a record number of entries across categories that recognise the impact and success of individuals and companies spanning all sizes and industry sectors.

It also boasts a record number of categories – three new.

The Robin Burgess Lifetime Contribution to Cumbria Award – which will be judged by members of the in-Cumbria team – will also be unveiled on the awards evening in November.