PRIME Minister David Cameron is calling on businesses across West Oxfordshire to battle for the top honours in the district’s sixth annual awards competition.

The Witney MP officially launched the 2016 West Oxfordshire Business Awards (WOBA) at Eynsham Hall, revealing two new categories in front of more than 150 West Oxfordshire businesses.

Mr Cameron said he was delighted to launch the contest, which will honour and celebrate West Oxfordshire businesses at a gala dinner at Heythrop Park on March 18 next year.

He added: “We are very fortunate to have a diverse range of thriving local businesses and the WOBA provide an opportunity to showcase this and celebrate their fantastic achievements.

“Becoming a WOBA finalist or winner can help to raise your company profile and boost staff morale, as well as provide a great opportunity to connect with other businesses.

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“I look forward to hearing the finalists next year and I am proud of what everyone has achieved, not only for our district, but also for the wider UK economy.”

Categories include the Burford Garden Company Retail Award, First Sight Media Charity Award, Owen Mumford Innovation Award, The MGroup Employer of the Year Award and the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership New Business Award.

Businesses can also enter nominations for the Witney Business and Innovation Centre Micro Business Award, Strategic Mentors Small Business Award, Ridgeway Large Business Award and the Brethertons LLP Solicitors Business Person of the Year Award.

The two new categories for the 2016 awards include the Marketing Excellence Award, sponsored by Chipping Norton’s creative agency mark-making, as well as the Wychwood Brewery-sponsored Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism Award, which is open to any hotel, restaurant, pub, coffee shop, leisure facility or visitor attraction.

Jo Sensecall, of the WOBA, said: “The categories are reviewed every year to ensure there is an opportunity for businesses to shine, irrespective of their size and sector.

“There are many businesses in West Oxfordshire who deserve recognition for their hard work and achievements, and the WOBAs provide the perfect opportunity for reward.”

Business have until midnight on Monday, November 30 to enter before the shortlist of finalists is announced on February 10 next year.

Winners of each category will be automatically considered by judges for the chance to be crowned the STL Communications West Oxfordshire Business of the Year 2016, which will celebrate a business working exceptionally well within the district and contributing to the local economy.

Andrew Hammond, of Witney-based Oxford Products, which supplies motorcycle and bicycle products, walked away with the prize last year.

The trophy for the West Oxfordshire Business of the Year is set to be designed by Abingdon and Witney College art and design students, with Witney charity Synolos producing the award.

Prizes will also be on offer for two people who refer the largest number of businesses to enter the contest, as part of WOBA’s drive to connect businesses across the district.

Entry forms can be downloaded from