THE deadline for submissions for the Big Chip Awards has been extended, meaning companies now have until 5pm on Monday 20th March to enter. The Big Chip awards have celebrated excellence in digital and technology across the region for almost two decades – in areas including animation, search, user experience, eCommerce and digital transformation. Businesses, individuals and students from the Scottish borders all the way down to Derbyshire are eligible to enter the popular awards – whether they are a digital or technology company, studying a related course at university, a freelancer, or an organisation from another sector that has undertaken excellent digital work over the past year. Chair of the Big Chip Steering Group Shaun Fensom said: “Over its 19 years Big Chip has always been about celebrating the best in digital and tech from the North – from both big businesses and small. That’s why we make the first two entries free of charge. We know this is a very a busy period for many so we’re giving this extra time to make sure everyone has a chance to enter.” Lawrence Jones MBE, CEO of headline sponsor UKFast, said “The North is alive with digital and technological innovation and the Big Chip awards are the perfect platform to celebrate this. The awards are an incredible opportunity to demonstrate exactly why the region is having such a massive impact across the industry.” Entrants have the chance to triumph in 22 awards in total, including three new categories: Big Chip Transformation Award, Big Chip IoT Impact Award and the Big Chip Leadership Award. The Anthony Wilson award, in honour of the late Tony Wilson, and the Grand Prix award, awarded to the best overall entry, will be chosen from shortlisted entries. This year, the Big Chips have also welcomed BCS: The Chartered Institute for IT as awards partner. Deputy president, Paul Martynenko, said “BCS are delighted to be partnering with the 2017 Big Chip Awards. The calibre of businesses and individuals here in the North is exceptional and we’re pleased to be part of the celebration” The shortlist will be announced on 27th April 2017, with the Big Chip Awards dinner taking place at Manchester’s Hilton Hotel on 15th June 2017. Entries can be submitted online at www.bigchipawards.com. The first two entries are free. Subsequent entries then cost £95.