Hailed as the benchmark for entrepreneurial success in the UK, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, in association with NatWest, tonight (Wednesday) crowns a new set of inspiring entrepreneurs.

In its third year, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards welcomes finalists, judges, sponsors and guests to the magnificent Ballroom South Bank for a night of celebration.

More applications were received this year than ever before across 18 categories, including 'Young Entrepreneur of the Year', 'Creative Entrepreneur of the Year', 'Social Enterprise Entrepreneur of the Year' and, of course, the prestigious 'Great British Entrepreneur of the Year' award. In the past two years Julie Deane, founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company, and BrewDog co-founder James Watt have taken home the top prize.

Speaking to the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, one of Britain's most recognised and successful entrepreneurs, Lord Sugar, had this to say: "Britain is known to have generated a whole host of entrepreneurs. We must continue and be proud to celebrate entrepreneurship in Britain. It generates new ideas and concepts and in turn it generates employment and prosperity for our country.”

Launching the 2015 edition of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards earlier in the year, co-founder Simon Burton said: “We witness how entrepreneurs are driving forward in the face of a challenging, fast-evolving business environment. Using innovative solutions and breaking existing paradigms entrepreneurs are a driving force in the economy. Their contributions to their industries and entrepreneurialism in the UK deserve to be recognised."

Nick James, founder of Fresh Business Thinking and co-founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, will say: "As a society we benefit massively from entrepreneurs; they create wealth, employment, they invest in community projects and many choose to ‘pay it forward’ by investing in other entrepreneurs whether with money, time or both.

"There is a school of thought that entrepreneurs experience higher levels of job satisfaction than non-entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs’ happiness can rub off on the happiness of non-entrepreneurs...

"Entrepreneurs might be the fire-starters but I think that the most important characteristic of an entrepreneur is not just the wherewithal and passion to start the fire – but the energy to keep it burning brightly."