There was a very strong field of entries for the prestigious awards, which recognise the best in the business world in the newspaper's circulation area, and are returning after missing 2020 and 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The final shortlist of 31 for the nine awards that are up for grabs shows the real high quality of the entries this year, with four rather than three finalists selected in four of the categories.
Dudley-based Metallisation, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, is up in three award categories, along USP Steels in Kingswinford.
The finalists range from some of the best-known established and successful names in business in the region, including top manufacturers, through to fledgling companies that are right at the start of their stories and who are already making a name for themselves.
All kinds of businesses are featured this year from traditional engineering and cutting edge technology to hotels and security firms.
Express & Star Editor Martin Wright said: "The response to our business awards was absolutely phenomenal. Having been through the disappointment of having to cancel the events in 2020 and last year, we have been bowled over with the number of entries in all of the categories. Our business community has endured an incredibly challenging two years but there are many success stories out there and we want our business awards to be a real celebration after such a tough period.
"Narrowing down the entries to a shortlist was no easy task - the standard of entries was extremely high and we are grateful to the many companies who took the time to enter our awards. Our judges certainly face an unenviable task in selecting our winners given the outstanding businesses shortlisted.
"I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our sponsors. Without their support, this event would not be possible. I am already looking forward to celebrating with our finalists and sponsors at what promises to be another glittering occasion at Wolverhampton Racecourse on June 9."
Those on the shortlist will now undergo a further rigorous judging process to select the winners, who will be revealed at the glittering, black-tie dinner event.
There will be a series of site visits during May by teams of judges, including executives from sponsor companies and from the Express & Star’s parent company, Midland News Association.
Tickets for the awards dinner are on sale online now at businessawards.expressandstar.co.uk
Full list of finalists
Business of the year, sponsored by the Express & Star: Thomas Dudley, Homeserve Furniture Repairs, Metallisation and USP Steels.
Apprentice of the year, sponsored by Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology: Matthew Smith, Lord Combustion Services; Megan Winup, GMS Security Services and Jasmine Massey, FBC Manby Bowdler.
Best marketing campaign, sponsored by MNA Digital: Black Country Chamber of Commerce, GMS Security Services and Tillymint Communications.
Business person of the year, sponsored by Richardson: Homeserve Furniture Repairs, USP Steels and FBC Manby Bowdler.
Family business of the year, sponsored by Crowe: Aspen Leisure The Mount Hotel Country Manor, Formbend, School of Coding and Weatherite Group.
Growth and innovation award, sponsored by Homeserve Furniture Repairs: KMB Shipping Group, Metallisation and Little Dessert Shop.
Manufacturing champion, sponsored by Collins Aerospace: Jenks & Cattell Engineering, Lesters and Weatherite Air Conditioning.
Small to medium-sized business of the year, sponsored by Higgs LLP: Nant, Lord Combustion Services, Lesters and Metallisation.
Young business of the year, sponsored by Carvers Building Supplies: Smart Balustrades, USP Steels, School of Coding and JL Drinks.