They and returning sponsors attended a lunch in the newspaper's board room in Queen Street, Wolverhampton, yesterday.
Express & Star Editor Martin Wright welcomed all of them and said: "I wish to thank each of you on behalf of the Express & Star for your support for these prestigious awards which are now firmly in the calendar of businesses across our region.
"The Express & Star is proud to support the vibrant business community in the Black Country and Staffordshire. We are committed to celebrating the success of businesses on our patch through our coverage in print and online.
"This region has a diverse business community, with inspiring stories that deserve to be heard by a wider audience.
"These awards give us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on these businesses and the individuals behind their success.
"Last year we received an extremely high calibre of entries from a wide range of businesses.
"I speak from experience when I say that judging was extremely difficult – and we anticipate the bar to be raised even higher this year."
Oldbury-based Richardson is sponsoring the business person of the year category.
Richardson's Jan Jennings said the business was delighted to be involved in the awards for the first time.
"Business person of the year is an ideal award for us to be involved with," she added.
Principal communications manager of new sponsors Willmott Dixon, Jennie Hennessey, said that the community champion category fitted in with the business ethos of the national construction company.
"Our chief executive Rick Willmott has a long standing tradition of giving back to the communities that we work in. We believe we have a greater responsibility than profit alone. We see our purpose of enriching and changing lives of the communities in which we work," she explained.
MNA Digital's head of digital Will Beavis said; "We are proud to be sponsoring a category for the first time this year and the best use of digital technology is ideal for us.
"MNA Digital has expertise in working across this field. We have been providing services and solutions to businesses for 14 years. In that time we have worked with hundreds of businesses and grown alongside them."
Brierley Hill business Homeserve Furniture and Repairs were double winners in last year's Express & Star Business Awards.
Managing director James Lane said that experience had inspired the firm, which employs 100 at Brierley Hill and 250 across the country, to become sponsor of the growth and innovation award, which it won last year.
"Winning the awards has helped us go on to more success as a business. Growth and innovation is a great category to win," he said.
Jonathon Dudley, managing partner of Crowe at Oldbury, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be once again sponsoring family business of the year.
"It is great to have such an excellent relationship and association with England's largest regional newspaper," he said.
Carvers Building Supplies, Wolverhampton, is once again sponsoring young business of the year; Collins Aerospace, Wolverhampton, have the manufacturing champion category and Higgs & Sons, Brierley Hill, sponsor small to medium-sized business of the year.
Associate sponsors are the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton; Wolverhampton Racecourse, Fuji Film, Silvaman and Yarrington.
Entries for the awards are open until February 28 and the winners will be announced at a glittering black-tie event on June 11 at Wolverhampton Racecourse.
To find out how to enter visit www.businessawards.expressandstar.com